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Book I S~ i 

Book II // . 19 

Book III vy .51 

Book IV v/ 7S 

Book V . .... 103 

Book VI' . . . . . I43<; 

Book VII . ....- 167 

Book VIII . . . 187 

Book IX . . . .203 

Book X 225 


NOTES 263^ 



MAP facing 280 

INDEX . . . .281 



THE History of the Franks by Gregory, bishop of Tours, is an 
historical record of great importance. The events which it relates 
are derails of the perishing of the Roman Empire and the begin- 
ning of a great modern state and for these events it is often the 
sole authority. However although Gregory was relating history 
mainly contemporaneous or recent, we must allow largely for 
error and prejudice in his statements of fact. It is rather as an 
unconscious revelation that the work is of especial value. The 
language and style, the intellectual attitude with which it was 
conceived and written, and the vivid and realistic picture, unin- 
tentionally given, of a primitive society, all combine to make the 
History of the Franks a landmark in European culture. After 
reading it the intelligent modern will no longer have pleasing 
illusions about sixth-century society. 

JGlregory'sJife covers the years from 538^0594. He was a 
product of central Gaul, spending his wholehte in trie Loire basin 
except for brief stays elsewhere. 1 The river Loire may be regaraecl 
as the southern limit of Prankish colonization and Gregory there- 
fore lived on the frontier of the barbarians. He was born and 
grew up at .Clermont in Auvergne, a city to which an inexhaustibly 
fertile mountain valley is tributary. In this valley his father owned 
jm^state. Its wealth brought Clermont much trouble during the 
disorderly period that followed the break-up of Roman rule, and 
Gregory gives a hint of the eagerness which the Prankish kings 
felt to possess this country. 2 

1 Besides Clermont and Tours in which cities Gregory spent most of his life 
we hear of stays at Poitiers, Saintes, Bordeaux, Riez, Cavaillon, Vienne, Lyons, 
Chalon-sur-Sa6ne, Chalons-sur-Marne, Rheims, Soissons, Metz, Coblentz, Braine, 
Paris, Orleans. Monod, Sources de Vhistoire Merovingienne, p. 37. 

2 Childebert the elder is represented as saying : Velim unquam Arvernam Lemanem 
quae tantae jocunditatis gratia refulgere dicitur, oculis cernere. H. F, III, 9. 



After 573 Gregory lived atJJ^unMin the lower Loire valley. 
This city with its pleasant climate and moderately productive 
territorial background had more than a local importance in this 
age. It ja/v on the main thoroughfare between Spain and Aquitania 
and the north. Five Roman roads centered in it and the traffic of 
the Loire passed by it. The reader of Gregory's history judges 
that sooner or later it was visited by every one of importance at 
the time. It jwas here that the Prankish influences of the north 
and the Roman influences of the south had their chief contact. 

However the natural advantages of Tours at this time were 
surpassed by the supernatural ones. Thanks to the legend of St. 
Martin this conveniently situated city had become "the religious 
Metropolis " of Gaul. St. Martin had made a great impression on 
his generation. 1 A Roman soldier, turned monk and then bishop 
of Tours, he was a man of heroic character and force. He had de- 
voted himself chiefly to the task of Christianizing the pagani or 
rural population of Gaul and had won a remarkable ascendancy over 
the minds of a superstitious people, and this went on increasing for 
centuries after his death. The center of his cult was his tomb in 
the great church built a century before Gregory's time Just out- 
side the walls of Tours. This was the chief point of Christian 
pilgrimage in Gaul, a place of resort for the healing of the sick 
and the driving out of demons, and a sanctuary to which many 
fled for protection, 2 In a time of dense superstition and political 
and social disorder this meant much in the way of securing peace, 
influence, and wealth, and it was to the strategic advantage of 
the office of bishop of Tours as well as to his own aggressive char- 
acter that Gregory owed his position as the leading prelate of Gaul. 

Qregoryjdoes not neglect to tell us of his family connections and 
status in society. 3 He he1onge4 tg foe privileged ^a^^g Of his 
father's family he tells us that "in the Gauls none could be found 
better born or nobler," and of his mother's that it was "a great 
and leading family." On both his father's and his mother's side 
he was of senatorial rank, a distinction of the defunct Roman 

1 In France, including Alsace and Lorraine, there are at the present time three thou- 
sand six hundred and seventy-five churches dedicated to St. Martin, and four hundred 
and twenty-five villages or hamlets are named after him. C. Bayet, in Lavisse, Histoire 
de France, 2i, p. 16. C. Bayet, in Lavisse, Histoire de France, 2i, pp. 13 ff. 

8 Monod, op. cit. pp. 25 ff. See pp. 13, 84, 109, 140. 


empire which still retained much meaning in central and southern 
Gaul. But the great distinction open at this time to a Gallo- 
Roman was the powerful and envied office of bishop. Men of 
the most powerful families struggled to attain this office and we can 
therefore judge of Gregory's status when he tells us proudly that 
of the bishops of Tours from the beginning all but five were con- 
nected with him by ties of kinship. We hear much of Gregory's 
paternal uncle Gallus, bishop of Auvergne, under whom he 
probably received his education and entered the clergy, and of 
his grand-uncle Nicetius, bishop of Lyons, and of his great-grand- 
father Gregory, bishop of Langres, in honor of whom Gregory 
discarded the name of Georgius Florentinus which he had received 
from his father. Entering on a clerical career with such powerful 
connections he was at the same time gratifying his ambitions and 
obeying the most strongly felt impulse of his time. 

In spite of all these advantages, under the externals of Chris- 
tianity Gregory was almost as superstitious as a savage. His 
superstition came to him straight from his father and mother and 
from his whole social environment. He tells us that his father, 
when expecting in 534 to go as hostage to king Theodobert's court, 
went to "a certain bishop" and asked for relics to protect him. 
These were furnished to him in the shape of dust or "sacred ashes" 
and he put them in a little gold case the shape of a pea-pod and 
wore them about his neck, although he never knew the names 
of the saints whose relics they were. According to Gregory's 
account the miraculous assistance given to his father by these 
relics was a common subject of family conversation. After his 
death the relics passed to Gregory's mother, who on one occasion 
extinguished by their help a great fire that had got started in the 
straw stacks on the family estate near Clermont. While on a 
horseback journey from Burgundy to Auvergne Gregory himself 
happened to be wearing these same relics. A fearful thunderstorm 
threatened the party, but Gregory "drew the beloved relics from 
his breast and lifted them up against the cloud, which at once 
separated into two parts and passed on the right and left, and 
after that did no harm to them or any one else." In spite of him- 
self Gregory could not help being somewhat elated at the incident 
and he hinted to his companions that his own merit must have 


had something to do with it. "No sooner were the words spoken 
than my horse shied suddenly and threw me heavily on the ground ; 
and I was so shaken that I could scarcely get up. I understood 
that my vanity was the cause of it, and it was a lesson to me to 
be on my guard against the spur of pride. And if thereafter I 
happened to have the merit merely to behold miracles of the 
saints I would say distinctly that they had been worked by God's 
grace through faith in the saints." 1 

The number of miracles at which Gregory "assisted" was great. 
A picturesque and significant one is the following: "It happened 
once that I was journeying to visit my aged mother in Burgundy. 
And when passing through the woods on the other side of the river 
Bebre we came upon highwaymen. They cut us off from escape 
and were going to rob and kill us. Then I resorted to my usual 
means of assistance and called on St. Martin for help. And he 
came to my help at once and efficiently, and so terrified them that 
they could do nothing against us. And instead of causing fear 
they were afraid, and were beginning to flee as fast as they could. 
But I remembered the apostle's words that our enemies ought to 
be supplied with food and drink, and told my people to offer them 
drink. They wouldn't wait at all, but fled at top speed. One 
would think that they were being clubbed along or were being hurled 
along involuntarily faster than their horses could possibly go." 2 

The reality of this incident need not be doubted. The high- 
waymen were as superstitious as Gregory, probably more so. When 
they found what they had against them they fled in a panic. 
The peculiar wording of the last sentence makes it seem likely that 
Gregory for his part thought that the highwaymen had demons 
to help them and that these in their urgent flight before the superior 
"virtue" of St. Martin were responsible for the appearance he 

Of Gregory's education and literary training we receive scanty 
details. At the age of eight he was beginning to learn to read. 3 
The books he read were naturally the Scriptures and works of 
Christian writers and his contact with pagan literature of the classi- 
cal period must have been slight ; he appears to have read Virgil 

1 Gloria Martyrum, c. 83. 2 De Virtut. S. Mart. I, 36. 3 Vita Patrum, VIII, 3. 


and Sallust's Catiline but probably did not go beyond these. 1 
His attitude toward pagan literature was the conventional on^ofjiis 
age, fear ol the demonTcTnfluences embodieoTm it ; * he expresses 
it thus : " We ought not to relate their lying fables lest we fall under 
sentence of eternal death." 3 Among Christian writers Sulpicius 
Severus, Prudentius, Sidonius Apollonaris, and Fortunatus were the 
only ones to exercise a genuine influence on his style. 

The question has been much discussed whether sixth-century 
education in Gaul included a knowledge of the liberal arts. Gregory 
gives us no definite information on the point. It is true that he is 
explicit as to his own case. He says, "I was not trained in gram- 
mar or instructed in the finished style of the heathen writers, but 
the influence of the blessed father Avitus, bishop of Auvergne, 
turned me solely to the writings of the church." 4 Gregory does 
indeed mention Martianus Capella's work on the seven liberal 
arts and seems to have had some notion of the scope of each one, 5 
but in the face of his repeated confessions of ignorance of the most 
elementary of them as well as the actual proof of ignorance which 
he constantly gives, the conclusion must be that they were not 
included in his education. As to the general situation the only 
evidence is furnished by Gregory's famous preface in which he 
declares that "liberal learning is declining or rather perishing in 
the Gallic cities," and no one could be found sufficiently versed 
in the liberal arts to write the History of the Franks as it ought to 
be written. We may feel certain that Gregory's idea of the quali- 
fications for historical writing were not high; correct spelling, 
knowledge of the rules of grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic as laid 
down in the text-books would be sufficient. But, as he tells us, 
no person so qualified could be found to undertake the task. Again 
we hear of bishops who were illiterate. It is plain that the trend 
of the evidence is all in one direction, namely that in Gaul by this 
time the liberal arts had disappeared from education. 

Gregory's Latin presents many problems. Its relation to sixth- 
century linguistic development is not well understood although it 

1 Bonnet, Le Latin- de Gregoire de Tours, pp. 48-76. 

1 Speaking of Jupiter, Mercury, Minerva, Venus, a character in the Vitae Patrutn, 
XVII, 5, says, Nolite, o, viri, nolite eos invocare, non sunt enim dii isti sed damones. 
3 Gloria Mariyrum, Pref. 4 Vita Patrum, II, Pref. 6 See p. 240. 


has been closely scrutinized. Gregory's vocabulary does not show 
the decadence that might be expected. It is extremely rich and 
varied and contains a moderate number of Celtic, Germanic, and 
Hunnish additions. Old Latin words, however, often have new 
and unexpected meanings. In the field of grammar the situation 
is different. Judged by anything like a classical standard Gregory 
is guilty of almost every conceivable barbarity. He_spells_incor- 
rectly, blunders in. the use of the inflections, confuses genders, and 
often uses the wrong case with the preposition. In addition he is 
very awkward in handling the Latin verb : the different voices, 
tenses, and modes are apt to look alike to him. His constructions, 
too, are frequently incorrect. In all this he seems very erratic; 
he may use the correct form ten times and then give us something 
entirely different. No method has so far been traced in his vagaries. 

Gregory's literary style is as peculiar as his language. It is- 
often vigorous and direct, giving realistic and picturesque delinea- 
tions of events. Within his limitations he well understood the 
complexity of human motives and actions, and now and then he 
shows a trace of humor. However, offending elements often ap- 
pear ; sometimes his realism verges on a brutal plainness. He is 
also by no means free from literary affectation; indeed by his 
choice of expressions, his repetitions and unnatural arrangement 
of words, he is almost always striving for effect. In his day the 
tradition of literary workmanship was quite dead but it would 
seem as if its ghost tortured Gregory. On the whole his literary 
style is uncouth, awkward, and full of rude surprises. 

There are well-marked variations in the style. At times we 
have the conventionalized jargon of the church, in which Gregory 
was proficient and which was always in the back of his mind ready 
to issue forth when other inspiration failed. At the opposite ex- 
treme from this is the easy, clear narrative in which the popular 
tales, both Frankish and Roman, are often recited. It is believed 
that in some of these we have a version of epic recitals of Frankish 
adventures. Then there are the passages, like the baptism of 
Clovis l or the tale of the two lovers, which Gregory labored to 
make striking. These do not offend; they are so naively over- 
done that they are merely amusing. 

1 See p. 40. 


In the light of these conclusions, objectively reached, 1 as to 
Gregory's language and style, how shall we interpret the confes- 
sions in regard to them which he repeatedly makes? In these 
confessions there are two leading notions : first, that he is without 
the qualifications to write in the literary style; second, that the 
popular language can be more widely understood. The inference 
is always therefore that Gregory writes in the language of the day. 
This, however, cannot be so. A language spoken by the people 
would have something organic about it, and it would not defy as 
Gregory's does the efforts of scholars to find its usages. It would 
be simpler than the literary language and probably as uniform in 
its constructions. We must decide then that Gregory's self -analysis 
is a mistaken one, correct in the first part but not in the second. 
He knew he could not write the literary language but in spite of this 
he made the attempt, and the result is what we have, a sort of hy- 
brid, halfway between the popular speech and the formally correct 
literary language. 

[n the Epilogue of the History of the Franks written in 594, the 
year of Gregory's death, he gives us a list of his works: "I have 
written ten books of History, seven of Miracles, one on the Lives 
of the Fathers, a commentary in one book on the Psalms, and one 
book on the Church Services." 2 These works represent two sides 
of Gregory's experience, his profession, and his relations with the 
Merovingian state. 

In the former sphere the overshadowing interest was the mirac- 
ulous. We have eight books devoted to miracles and it may be 
said that as a churchman Gregory never got very far away from 
them. It is idle to discuss the question whether he believed in 
them or not. It is more to the point to attempt to appreciate the 
part they played in the thought and life of the time. They were 

1 They are substantially the conclusions of Bonnet in Le Latin de Gregoire de Tours, 
Paris, 1890. 

2 See p. 247. In the Arndt and Brusch edition in the Monumenta Germanics His- 
torica we have all these titles included. The commentary on the Psalms however is 
in a fragmentary condition, and the Lives of the Fathers appears as one of eight 
books of Miracles. The book on Church Services is there entitled Account of the Move- 
ments of the Stars as they ought to be observed in performing the Services. It is really a 
brief astronomical treatise the purpose of which was in the absence of clocks to guide 
the church services at night. 


considered as the most significant of phenomena. They seemed 
a guarantee that the relations were right between the supernatural 
powers on the one hand and on the other the men who possessed 
the " sanctity" to work miracles and those who had the faith or 
merit to be cured or rescued by them. Gregory's eight books of 
Miracles were thus a register of the chief interest of his day, with 
an eye of course to its promotion, and it is much more remarkable 
that he wrote a History of the Franks than that he compiled this 
usually wearisome array of impossibilities. 

A brief glance at the practical situation that lay back of the 
four books which Gregory devotes to the miracles wrought by St. 
Martin will be enlightening. The cult of St. Martin was a great 
organized enterprise at the head of which Gregory was placed. In 
the sixth century St. Martin's tomb was a center toward which 
the crippled, the sick, and those possessed by demons flowed as if 
by gravity from a large territory around Tours. The cures wrought 
there did much "to strengthen the faith." They passed from 
mouth to mouth and brought greater numbers to the shrine and 
it was to aid this process that the four books of St. Martin's miracles 
were written. Gregory is here a promoter and advertiser. To get 
at the practical side of the situation we have only to remember that 
St. Martin's tomb was the chief place of healing among the shrines 
of Gaul, and that the shrines of the sixth century stood for the 
physicians, hospitals, drugs, patent medicines, and other healing 
enterprises of the twentieth. 

The History of the Franks is Gregory's chief work. It was writ- 
ten in three parts. The first, comprising books I-IV, begins with 
the creation, and after a brief outline of events enters into more 
detail with the introduction of Christianity into Gaul. Then 
follow the appearance of the Franks on the scene of history, their 
conversion, the conquest of Gaul under Clovis, and the detailed 
history of the Frankish kings down to the death of Sigibert in 575. 
At this date Gregory had been bishop of Tours two years. The 
second part comprises books V and VI and closes with Chilperic's 
death in 584. During these years Chilperic held Tours and the 
relations between him and Gregory were as a rule unfriendly. The 
most eloquent passage in the History of the Franks is the closing 
chapter of book VI, in which Chilperic's character is unsympatheti- 



cally summed up. The third part comprises books VII-X. It 
comes down to the year 591 and the epilogue was written in 594, 
the year of Gregory's death. The earlier part of the work does not 
stand as it was first written ; Gregory revised it and added a number 
of chapters. It will be noticed that from the middle of the third 
book on, Gregory was writing of events within his own lifetime, and 
in the last six books, which are of especial value, of those that 
took place after he became bishop. For the earlier part of the 
work he depended on various chronicles, histories and local annals, 1 
and also on oral tradition. 

For the task undertaken by Gregory in the History of the Franks , 
no one else was so well qualified. His family connections were 
such as to afford him every opportunity of knowing the occurrences 
of central Gaul, while his position as bishop of Tours with all that 
it entailed brought him into touch with almost every person and 
matter of interest throughout the country. His frequent journeys 
and wide acquaintance, his leadership among the bishops, and his 
personal relations with four kings, Sigibert, Chilperic, Gunthram, 
and Childebert and also with most of the leading Franks, gave 
him unsurpassed opportunities for learning what was going on. 
Perhaps his most realistic notions of the working of Frankish society 
were obtained in dealing with the political refugees who sought 
refuge in St. Martin's church. Though these people must have 
always been interesting to talk with, they were the cause of some 
of Gregory's most harrowing and at the same time informing ex- 
periences. This varied contact with the world about him made 
Gregory what every reader feels him to be, a vivid and faithful 
delineator of his time. 

The History of the Franks must not be looked upon as a secular 
history. The old title, Ecclesiastical History of the Franks, is a 
better one descriptively. It is written not from the point of view 
of the Gallo-Roman or the Frank, but solely from that of the church- 
man, almost that of the bishop. Gregory does not take a tone of 

1 The list as given by Manitius is as follows : Chronicles of Jerome, Victor, Sulpicius 
Severus; history of Orosius; church history of Eusebius-Rufinus; life of St. Martin 
by Sulpicius Severus ; letters of Sidonius Apollinaris and Ferreolus ; writings of Avitus ; 
histories of Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus and Sulpicius Alexander (not elsewhere 
known) ; annals of Aries, Angers, Burgundy. Geschichte der Lateinischen Litteratur 
des Mittelalters, p. 220. 


loyalty to the Frankish kings, much less of inferiority. His atti- 
tude toward them is cold unless they are zealous supporters of the 
church, and he speaks with the utmost disgust of their civil wars, 
which seemed to him absolute madness in view of the greater war 
between the good and evil supernatural powers. 1 On the other 
hand his loyalty to his worthy fellow-bishops is often proved. No 
doubt the words he quotes from Paulinus expressed his own feel- 
ings : " Whatever evils there may be in the world, you will doubt- 
less see the worthiest men as guardians of all faith and religion." 2 
Everywhere we can read in the lines and between the lines Gregory's 
single-minded devotion to the church and above all to the cult of 
St. Martin. 

The great value of Gregory's writings is that we get in them an 
intimate view of sixth-century ideas. At first sight, perhaps, we 
seem to have incongruous elements which from the modern view- 
point we cannot bring into harmony with one another. Credulity 
and hard-headed judgment appear side by side. How could Greg- 
ory be so shrewd and worldly-minded in his struggle with Chilperic 
and at the same time show such an appetite for the miraculous? 
How could he find it necessary to preface his history, as no other 
historian has done, with an exact statement of his creed? And 
how could he relate Clovis's atrocities and then go on to say, 
" Every day God kept laying his enemies low before him and en- 
larging his kingdom because he walked with right heart before 
him and did what was pleasing in his eyes"? These apparently 
glaring incongruities must have some explanation. 

The reason why they have usually passed as incongruities is 
perhaps that it is difficult for us to take an unprejudiced view of 
religious and moral phenomena that are in the direct line of our 
cultural descent. If we could regard the Franks and Gallo-Romans 
as if they were alien to us, living, let us say, on an island of the 
southern Pacific, and believing and practising a religion adapted 
to their general situation, the task of understanding the History 
of the Franks would become easier. It is really a primitive society 
with a primitive interpretation of life and the universe with which 
we have to deal. 

1 III, Pref. and IV, Pref. H. P., II, 13- Cf. V, n. p. 113. 


Look at the conception of religion held by Gregory. It seems 
most explicable, not by the creed he thrusts at us or by any tradi- 
tional elements interpreted in a traditional sense, but by the living 
attitude toward the supernatural which he held. Two words are 
always recurring in his writings ; sanctus and virtus, 1 the first mean- 
ing sacred or holy, and the second the mystic potency emanating 
from the person or thing that is sacred. These words have in 
themselves no ethical meaning and no humane implications what- 
ever. They are the key- words of a religious technique and their 
content is wholly supernatural. In a practical way the second 
word is the more important. It describes the uncanny, mysterious 
power emanating from the supernatural and affecting the natural. 
The manifestation of this power may be thought of as a contact 
between the natural and the supernatural in which the former, 
being an inferior reality, of course yielded. These points of con- 
tact and yielding are the miracles we continually hear of. The 
quality of sacredness and the mystic potency belong to spirits, in 
varying degrees to the faithful, and to inanimate objects. They 
are possessed by spirits, acquired by the faithful, and transmitted 
to objects. 

There was also a false mystic potency. It emanated from spirits 
who were conceived of as alien and hostile, and, while it was not 
strong as the true "virtue," natural phenomena yielded before it 
and it had its own miracles, which however were always deceitful 
and malignant in purpose. This " virtue" is associated with the 
devil, demons, soothsayers, magicians, pagans and pagan gods, 
and heretics, and through them is continually engaged in aggressive 
warfare on the true " virtue." 2 

For the attainment of the true mystic potency asceticism was 
the method. This was not a withdrawal from lower activities of 
life to gain more power for higher activities, but it was undertaken 
in contempt of life, and in the more thoroughgoing cases the only 
restraint was the desire to avoid self-destruction, which was for- 
bidden. Almost every known method of self-denial and self- 

1 Nunc autem cognovi quod magna est virtus eius beati Martini. Nam ingrediente 
me atrium domus, vidi virum senem exhibentem arborem in manu sua, quae mox 
extensis ramis omne atrium texit. Ex ea enim unus me adtigit ramus, de cuius ictu 
turbatus corrui. VII, 42. 2 See pp. 38, 162, 185, 205. 


mortification was practised. Humility of mind was insisted on as 
an always necessary element. Fasting was part of the prescribed 
method. The strength of the motive behind asceticism may 
be judged from the practice of immuring, 1 several specimens of 
which are related by Gregory. In this the ascetic was shut in a 
cell and the door walled up and only a narrow opening left to hand 
in a scanty supply of food. Here he was to remain until he died. 
Such men were regarded as having the true "virtue" in the highest 
degree. In reality their life must have made them distinctly in- 
ferior in all the ordinary virtues of a natural existence. 2 

As asceticism was the method by which mystic potency was 
attained, so miracles were the product, and the proof that it had 
been acquired. Of course in theory the main object of the mystic 
was to assimilate himself to the supernatural and not expressly 
to work miracles. Still to society in general the miracles were the 
important thing. In the first place they served the immediate 
purpose for which a miracle might be needed, healing the sick or 
driving out a demon or something of the sort ; in the second place 
they encouraged society by evidencing the fact that things in 
general were right and that their spiritual leaders had the right 
"medicine." Incredulity is not to be expected in such a situation. 
The miracle played an integral part in the life- theory of the time. 
It was the proof of religion and it did not need to be proved itself. 
Furthermore many miracles were real ; for example, the cessation 
of a pain or natural recovery from a sickness would be regarded as 
a miracle. 

Some mention should be made of the transmissibility of the 
mystic potency. The case of St. Martin is a good example. 
During his lifetime he acquired this power in a large degree. When 
he died on November 8, 397, at a village half-way between Tours 

1 For an objective account of immuring as the climax of religious practice see vol. 
II, chap, i, Sven Hedin's Trans-Himalaya, 1909. The following is his account of 
an immured monk who was brought out from his cell after a long time. "He was all 
bent up together and as small as a child and his body was nothing but a light-gray parch- 
ment-like skin and bones. His eyes had lost their color, were quite bright and blind. 
His hair hung round his head in uncombed matted locks and was pure white. His 
body was covered only by a rag for time had eaten away his clothing and he had re- 
ceived no new garments. He had a thin unkempt beard, and had never washed him- 
self all the time or cut his nails." 

2 pp. 147-150, 158, 198-199- 


and Poitiers, the inhabitants of these cities were all ready to fight 
for his body, when the people of Tours managed to secure it by 
stealth. This was because of the sanctity and mystic "virtue" 
inherent in it. It was carried to Tours and buried there and proved 
the greatest asset of the city. The mystic potency resided in the 
tomb and the area about it, and was transmitted to the dust accumu- 
lated on it, the wine and oil placed on it for the purpose, and was 
carried in these portable forms to all parts of Gaul. Gregory him- 
self, for example, carried relics of St. Martin on his journeys and 
records that they kept his boat from sinking in the river Rhine. 

The system of superstition just outlined is the greater and more 
real part of Gregory's religion. There was the right mystery and 
the wrong mystery; and both were of a low order; men had to 
deal with capricious saints and malignant demons. It was a real, 
live, local religion comparable with that of savages. By the side 
of this and intertwined with it the elements of traditional Chris- 
tianity in a more or less formalized and ritualized shape were re- 
tained. Here the great stress was laid on the creed, not, however, 
that it amounted to anything in Gregory's mind as a creed. He was 
no theologian. His acceptance of it and insistence on it was 
ritualistic. However, although he accepted it as he tells us with 
pura credulitaSj 1 that is, without a critical thought, it was not mere 
formality. He felt, no doubt, that it was a sort of mystic formula, 
especially the Trinitarian part of it, for putting men into the 
right relation with the supernatural. If they believed in the creed 
they had the right " medicine" ; if they did not, they had not. 

This system of superstition was not calculated to nourish deli- 
cate moral sensibilities. Life had gone too far back to the primi- 
tive. The word applied to the adept in this religion was sanctus, 
and it indicated not moral excellence at all but a purely mystic 
quality. The " virtue" which this person possessed was mystic 
potency, which was not moral but a supernatural force. The 
orthodox of course called the saint good, but this was merely because 
they were on the same side, just as Cicero for example six centuries 
before called the members of his political party the boni. Greg- 
ory's moral praise or blame is distributed in the same way. When 
he praises a man we must look for the service done by this man to 

1 H.F., I, Pref. 


the church, and when he blames one we must look in like manner for 
the opposite. Outside of the interests of the orthodox group Greg- 
ory is not morally thin-skinned ; he shared in the brutality of his 
contemporaries, as we can see in many recitals. His portrait of 
Clovis throws no false light back on Gregory. Clovis was a cham- 
pion and favorite of the right supernatural powers in their fight 
with the wrong ones, and any occasional atrocities he committed in 
the struggle were not only pardonable but praiseworthy. 1 

Secular activities and the state of mind just indicated could 
not coexist in the same society. We have noticed already how 
education was desecularized. It is of interest to note also what 
had happened to the secular professions of medicine and law. 

The profession of medicine had almost completely disappeared. 
It is true indeed that we hear of a few physicians. For example 
when Austrechild, king Gunthram's wife, was dying, she accused 
her two physicians of having given her "potions" that were prov- 
ing fatal, and asked the king to take an oath to have them executed. 
He did so and kept his word and Gregory remarks with what seems 
excessive moderation, " Many wise men think that this was not 
done without sin." 2 Again we hear of Gregory's own illness, when 
he sent for a physician. He soon decided that "secular means 
could not help the perishing/' and sent for some dust from St. 
Martin's tomb which he put in water and drank, and was soon 
cured. 3 Such tales indicate the status of the medical profession. 

The truth was that the condition of the people's minds made the 
profession an impossibility. Disease was looked upon as super- 
natural. The sick man thought he had a better chance if he called 
the priest rather than the doctor. Gregory tells us of Vulfilaic, 
who was suddenly covered from head to foot with angry pimples ; 
he rubbed himself with oil consecrated at St. Martin's tomb, and 
they speedily disappeared. He reasoned that if they had been 
driven away by St. Martin, they had plainly been sent by the devil. 4 
This meant to him that the whole thing was supernatural and that 
the true mystic power had driven out the false which had caused 
the trouble. 

Perhaps this was not the reasoning in every case, but at any rate 

1 See pp. 47-So. 2 p. 130. 8 De Virtut. S. Martin., II, i. 4 p. 196. 


the people went to the shrines and churches to be healed. In some 
cases the diagnosis was quite clear as with a patient at Limoges. 
The priest put holy oil on his head and "the demon went down 
into his finger-nail ; seeing this the priest poured oil on the finger 
and soon the skin burst, blood flowed from the place, and the 
demon thus took his departure." 1 

Such practices were not isolated or unusual, but typical. Mysti- 
cal healing was adjusted to an everyday basis as many " cases" 
cited by Gregory indicate. Many like the following are found : 
"Charigisil, king Clothar's secretary, whose hands and feet were 
made helpless by a humor, came to the holy church, and devoting 
himself to prayer for two or three months, was visited by the blessed 
bishop 2 and had the merit to obtain health in his crippled limbs. He 
was later domesticusoi the king I have mentioned, and did many kind- 
nesses to the people of Tours and the officials of the holy church." 
An analysis of this record reveals the typical elements, with the 
exception of fasting which is usually mentioned. The miraculous 
properties of St. Martin were thus reenforced by change of scene, 
prolonged treatment, and a rigorous mental and physical regimen. 

With such a state of mind prevailing no rivals of the clergy in the 
healing art were to be found except among those healers who used a 
"virtue" of another kind the false virtue of the magicians and 
demons ; the few physicians who remained were not real competitors. 

The administration of justice was also affected by the same 
causes which brought about the disappearance of medicine. There 
was little inducement to look for evidence when an appeal could 
be made to superstitious fear. Hence the importance of the oath. 
Gregory himself, when he was charged with slandering queen 
Fredegunda, had to take oath to his innocence on three altars. 
We have also other appeals to the supernatural in the trial by com- 
bat and the ordeal. Another interference in the domain of law 
was a peculiar one ; holy men seemed to have a particular desire 
to set prisoners free. Gregory himself begs them off. We hear 
of one dead bishop whose body sank like lead on the street before 
the jail and could not be moved until all in the jail were let loose. 3 
Another holy man tried to secure the pardon of a notorious criminal, 
and failing, brought him back to life after he was executed. 

1 Glor. Conf., c. 9. 2 St. Martin. 3 De Virtut. S. Martin., I, 21, 25. 


In the History of the Franks attention is given from time to time 
to natural phenomena. With few exceptions these passages deal 
with prodigies. Gregory tells for example of the prodigies of the 
year 587. Most of them are given from his own personal observa- 
tion. 1 Mysterious marks which could not be deleted in any way 
appeared on dishes ; vines made a new growth and bore deformed 
fruit in the month of October after the vintage ; at the same time 
fresh leaves and fruits appeared on fruit trees ; rays of light were 
seen in the north. In addition Gregory mentions from hearsay 
that snakes had fallen from the clouds, and that a village with its 
inhabitants and dwellings had disappeared entirely. He goes on 
to say, "Many other signs appeared such as usually announce a 
king's death or the destruction of a country." In the same way 
he tells us of the signs preceding plagues. Sometimes he relates 
the prodigies without giving any sequel to them. In one case he 
says, "I do not know what these prodigies foretold." It is evident 
that the idea which Gregory had of the phenomena of nature was 
such as to prevent his giving any intelligent attention to them. 
The supernatural came between him and objective realities in such 
a way as to prevent the latter from having a natural effect upon his 

The inhibiting and paralyzing force of superstitious beliefs 
penetrated to every department of life, and the most primary and 
elementary activities of society were influenced. War, for example, 
was not a simple matter of a test of strength and courage, but super- 
natural matters had to be taken carefully into consideration. When 
Clovis said of the Goths in southern Gaul, "I take it hard that 
these Arians should hold a part of the Gauls ; let us go with God's 
aid and conquer them and bring the land under our dominion," 2 
he was not speaking in a hypocritical or arrogant manner but in 
real accordance with the religious sentiment of the time. What 
he meant was that the Goths, being heretics, were at once enemies 
of the true God and inferior to the orthodox Franks in their super- 
natural backing. Considerations of duty, strategy, and self-in- 
terest all reenforced one another in Clovis's mind. However, it 
was not always the orthodox side that won. We hear of a battle 
fought a few years before Gregory became bishop of Tours between 
1 IX, 5. See p. 45- 


king Sigibert and the Huns, 1 in which the Huns "by the use of magic 
arts caused various false appearances to arise before their enemies 
and overcame them decisively. " It is very plain that one exceedingly 
important function of the leader of a sixth-century army was to keep 
in the right relation with the supernatural powers. Clovis is repre- 
sented as heeding this necessity more than any other Frankish king. 2 

It is clear that in the sixth-century state of mind in Gaul nothing 
was purely secular. As far as possible all secular elements had been 
expelled. Men did not meet the objective realiliejj)lsociety and of 
nature as they were ; there was a superstitious interpretation for 
everything. The hope in such a condition of things lay only in un- 
conscious developments which might break through the closed system 
of thought before the latter realized that it was on the defensive. 

The most promising element in the situation was the Frankish 
state. Apparently the Frankish kingship was not to any large 
extent a magico-religious institution, but simply a recent develop- 
ment arising out of the conquest. As an institution it was not 
grounded in the superstitious past, and the cold hostility of the 
bishops kept it from the development usual in a benighted society. 
To this chance we may perhaps attribute a momentous result ; in 
it lay the possibility and promise of a secular state. 

In the case of King Chilperic we apparently have a premature 
development in this direction. We must read between the lines 
when Gregory speaks of him. Gregory calls him "the Nero and 
Herod of our time," and loads him with abuse. He ridicules his 
poems, and according to his own story overwhelms him with an 
avalanche of contempt when he ventures to state some new opinions 
on the Trinity. The significant thing about Chilperic was this, 
that he had at this time the independence of mind to make such a 
criticism, as well as the hard temper necessary to fight the bishops 
successfully. "In his reign," Gregory tells us, "very few of the 
clergy reached the office of bishop." Chilperic used often to say : 
" Behold our treasury has remained poor, our wealth has been trans- 
ferred to the churches ; there is no king but the bishops ; my office 
has perished and passed over to the bishops of the cities." 3 Chil- 
peric was thus the forerunner of the secular state in France. 

E. B. 
1 H. F., IV, 29. pp. 36-38, 40, 45, 53-54- ' See p. 166. 




WITH liberal culture on the wane, or rather perishing in the Gallic 
cities, there were many deeds being done both good and evil : the 
heathen were raging fiercely ; kings were growing more cruel ; the 
church, attacked by heretics, was defended by Catholics ; while the 
Christian faith was in general devoutly cherished, among some it was 
growing cold; the churches also were enriched by the faithful or 
plundered by traitors and no grammarian skilled in the dialectic 
art could be found to describe these matters either in prose or verse ; 
and many were lamenting and saying: "Woe to our day, since 
the pursuit of letters has perished from among us and no one can 
be found among the people who can set forth the deeds of the present 
on the written page." Hearing continually these complaints and 
others like them I [have undertaken] to commemorate the past, 
in order that it may come to the knowledge of the future ; and 
although my speech is rude, I have been unable to be silent as to 
the struggles between the wicked and the upright ; and I have been 
especially encouraged because, to my surprise, it has often been said 
by men of our day, that few understand the learned words of the 
rhetorician but many the rude language of the common people. 
I have decided also that for the reckoning of the years the first 
book shall begin with the very beginning of the world, and I have 
given its chapters below. 


1. Adam and Eve. 

2. Cain and Abel. 

3. Enoch the Just. 

4. The flood. 

5. Cush, inventor of idols. 

6. Babylonia. 

7. Abraham and Ninus. 

8. Isaac, Esau, Job and Jacob. 

9. Joseph in Egypt. 

10. Crossing of the Red Sea. 

11. The people in the desert and Joshua. 

12. The captivity of the people of Israel and the generations to David. 

13. Solomon and the building of the Temple. 

14. The division of the kingdom of Israel. 

15. The captivity in Babylonia. 

16. Birth of Christ. 

17. The various kingdoms of the nations. 

1 8. When Lyons was founded. 

19. The gifts of the magi and the slaughter of the infants. 

20. The miracles and suffering of Christ. 

21. Joseph who buried Him. 

22. James the apostle. 

23. The day of the Lord's resurrection. 

24. The ascension of the Lord and the death of Pilate and Herod. 

25. The suffering of the Apostles and Nero. 

26. James, Mark and John the evangelist. 

27. The persecution under Trajan. 

28. Hadrian and the heretics' lies and the martyrdom of Saint Polycarp and 


29. Saints Photinus, Irenaeus and the rest of the martyrs of Lyons. 

30. The seven men sent into the Gauls to preach. 

31. The church of Bourges. 

32. Chrocus and the shrine in Auvergne. 

33. The martyrs who suffered in Auvergne. 

34. The holy martyr, Privatus. 

35. Quirinus, bishop and martyr. 



36. Birth of St. Martin and the finding of the cross. 

37. James, bishop of Nisibis. 

38. Death of the monk Antony. 

39. The coming of St. Martin. 

40. The matron Melania. 

41. Death of the emperor Valens. 

42. Imperial rule of Theodosius. 

43. Death of the tyrant Maximus. 

44. Urbicus, bishop of Auvergne. 

45. The holy bishop Hillidius. 

46. The bishops Nepotian and Arthemius. 

47. The chastity of the lovers. 

48. St. Martin's death. 





As I am about to describe the struggles of kings with the heathen 
enemy, of martyrs with pagans, of churches with heretics, I desire 
first of all to declare my faith so that my reader may have no doubt 
that I am Catholic. I have also decided, on account of those who 
are losing hope of the approaching end of the world, to collect the 
total of past years from chronicles and histories and set forth clearly 
how many years there are from the beginning of the world. But I 
first beg pardon of my readers if either in letter or in syllable I 
transgress the rules of the grammatic art in which I have not been 
fully instructed, since I have been eager only for this, to hold fast, 
without any subterfuge or irresolution of heart, to that which we 
are bidden in the church to believe, because I know that he who is 
liable to punishment for his sin can obtain pardon from God by 
untainted faith. 

I believe, then, in God the Father omnipotent. I believe in 
Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord God, born of the Father, not 
created. [I believe] that he-has always been with the Father, not 
only since time began but before all time. For the Father could 
not have been so named unless he had a son ; and there could be 
no son without a father. But as for those who say: " There was 
a time when he was not," 1 1 reject them with curses, and call men 
to witness that they are separated from the church. I believe 
that the word of the Father by which all things were made was 
Christ. I believe that this word was made flesh and by its suffer- 
ing_the world was redeemed, and I believe that humanity, not 
deity, was subject to the suffering. I believe that he rose again on 
the third day, that he freed sinful man, that he ascended to heaven, 

1 A leading belief of Arian Christology. 



that he sits on the right hand of the Father, that he will come to 
judge the living and the dead. I believe that the holy Spirit pro- 
ceeded from the Father and the Son, that it is not inferior and is 
not of later origin, but is God, equal and always co-eternal with 
the Father and the Son, consubstantial in its nature, equal in omnip- 
otence, equally eternal in its essence, and that it has never existed 
apart from the Father and the Son and is not inferior to the Father 
and the Son. I believe that this holy Trinity exists with separation 
of persons, and one person is that of the Father, another that of 
the Son, another that of the Holy Spirit. And in this Trinity I 
confess that there is one Deity, one power, one essence. I believe 
that the blessed Mary was a virgin after the birth as she was a 
virgin before. I believe that the soul is immortal but that never- 
theless it has no part in deity. And I faithfully believe all things 
that were established at Nicaea by the three hundred and eighteen 
bishops. But as to the end of the world I hold beliefs which I 
learned from our forefathers, that Antichrist will come first. And 
Antichrist will first propose circumcision, asserting that he is Christ ; 
next he will place his statue in the temple at Jerusalem to be wor- 
shiped, just as we read that the Lord said: "You shall see the 
abomination of desolation standing in the holy place." But the 
Lord himself declared that that day is hidden from all men, saying : 
"But of that day and that hour knoweth no one not even the angels 
in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father alone." Moreover we 
shall here make answer to the heretics 1 who attack us. asserting 
that the Son is inferior to the Father since he is ignorant of this day. 
Let them learn then that Son here is the name applied to the Chris- 
tian people, oT whom God says: "I shall be to them a father and 
they shall be to me for sons." For if he had spoken these words o 
the only-begotten Son he would never have given the angels first 
place. For he uses these words : "Not even the angels in heaven 
nor the Son," showing that he spoke these words not of the only- 
begotten but of the people of adoption. But our end is Christ him- 
self, who will graciously bestow eternal life on us if we turn to him. 
As to the reckoning of this world, the chronicles of Eusebius, 
bishop of Csesarea, and of Jerome the priest, speak clearly, and 
they reveal the plan of the whole succession of years. Orosius 

1 The Arians. 


too, searching into these matters very carefully, collects the whole 
number of years from the beginning of the world down to his 
own time. Victor also examined into this in connection with the 
time of the Easter festival. And so we follow the works of the 
writers mentioned above and desire to reckon the complete series 
of years from the creation of the first man down to our own time, 
if the Lord shall deign to lend his aid. And this we shall more 
easily accomplish if we begin with Adam himself. 

1. In the beginning the Lord shaped the heaven and the earth 
in his Christ, who is the beginning of all things, that is, in his son ; 
and after creating the elements of the whole universe, taking a 
frail clod he formed man after his own image and likeness, and 
breathed upon his face the breath of life and he was made into a 
living soul. And while he slept a rib was taken from him and the 
woman, Eve, was created. There is no doubt that this first man 
Adam before he sinned typified the Redeemer. For as the 
Redeemer slept in the stupor of suffering and caused water and 
blood to issue from his side, he brought into existence the virgin 
and unspotted church, redeemed by blood, purified by water, hav- 
ing no spot or wrinkle, that is, washed with water to avoid a spot, 
stretched on the cross to avoid a wrinkle. These first human beings, 
who were living happily amid the pleasant scenes of Paradise, were 
tempted by the craft of the serpent. They transgressed the divine 
precepts and were cast out from the abode of angels and condemned 
to the labors of the world. 

2. Through intercourse with her companion the woman con- 
ceived and bore two sons. But when God received the sacrifice of 
the one with honor, the other was inflamed with envy ; he rushed 
on his brother, overcame and killed him, becoming the first parricide 
by shedding a brother's blood. 

3. Then the whole race rushed into accursed crime, except the 
just Enoch, who walked in the ways of God and was taken up from 
the midst by the Lord himself on account of his uprightness, and 
freed from a sinful people. For we read : "Enoch walked with the 
Lord, and he did not appear for God took him." 

4. And so the Lord, being angered against the iniquities of 
the people who did not walk in his ways, sent a flood, and by its 
waters destroyed every living soul from the face of the earth ; only 


Noah, who was most faithful and especially belonged to him and 
bore the stamp of his image, he saved in the ark, with his wife and 
those of his three sons, that they might restore posterity, gere 
the heretics upbraid us because the holy Scripture says that the 
Lord was angry. Let them know therefore that our God is not 
angry like a man ; for he is aroused in order to inspire fear ; he 
drives away to summon back.; he is angry in order to amend. Fur- 
thermore I have no doubt that the ark typified the mother church. 
For^ssing-amidst the waves and rocks of this world it protects us 
in its motherly arms from threatening ills, and guards us with its 
hply_embrace and protection. 

Now from Adam to Noah are ten generations, namely : Adam, 
Seth, Enos, Cainan, Malalehel, Jareth, Enoch, Mattusalam, 
Lamech, Noah. In these ten generations 2242 years are included. 
The book Joshua clearly indicates that Adam was buried in the 
land of Enacim, which before was called Hebron. 

5. Noah had after the flood three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. 
From Japheth issued nations, and likewise from Ham and from 
Shem. And, as ancient history says, from these the human race 
was scattered under the whole heaven. The first-born of Ham 
was Cush. He was the first inventor of the whole art of magic 
and of idolatry, being instructed by the devil. He was the first 
to set up an idol to be worshipped, at the instigation of the devil, 
and by his false power he showed to men stars and fire falling from 
heaven. He passed over to the Persians. The Persians called 
him Zoroaster, that is, living star. They were trained by him to 
worship fire, and they reverence as a god the man who was himself 
consumed by the divine fire. 

6. Since men had multiplied and were spreading over all the 
earth they passed out from the East and found the grassy plain 
of Senachar. There they built a city and strove to raise a tower 
which should reach the heavens. And God brought confusion both 
to their vain enterprise and their language, and scattered them over 
the wide world, and the city was called Babyl, that is, confusion, 
because there God had confused their tongues. This is Babylonia, 
built by the giant Nebron, son of Cush. As the history of Orosius 
tells, it is laid out foursquare on a very level plain. Its wall, made 
of baked brick cemented with pitch, is fifty cubits wide, two hun- 


dred high, and four hundred and seventy stades in circumference. 
A stade contains five agripennes. Twenty-five gates are situated 
on each side, which make in all one hundred. The doors of these 
gates, which are of wonderful size, are cast in bronze. The same 
historian tells many other tales of this city, and says: " Although 
such was the glory of its building still it was conquered and de- 

[7. Abraham, who is described as "the beginning of our faith." 
8. Isaac, Esau, Jacob, Job. 9. The twelve patriarchs, the 
story of Joseph, and the coming out of Egypt to the crossing of the 
Red Sea.] 1 

10. Since many authorities have made varying statements 
about this crossing of the sea I have decided to give here some in- 
formation concerning the situation of the place and the crossing 
itself. The Nile flows through Egypt, as you very well know, and 
waters it by its flood, from which the inhabitants of Egypt are 
named Nilicolae. And many travellers say its shores are filled at 
the present time with holy monasteries. And on its bank is situ- 
ated, not the Babylonia of which we spoke above, but the city of 
Babylonia in which Joseph built wonderful granaries of squared 
stone and rubble. 2 They are wide at the base and narrow at the 
top in order that the wheat might be cast into them through a tiny 
opening, and these granaries are to be seen at the present day. 
From this city the king set out in pursuit of the Hebrews with armies 
of chariots and a great infantry force. Now the stream mentioned 
above coming from the east passes in a westerly direction towards 
the Red Sea ; and from the west a lake or arm of the Red Sea juts 
out and stretches to the east, being about fifty miles long and eigh- 
teen wide. 3 And at the head of this lake the city of Clysma is 
built, not on account of the fertility of the soil, since there is noth- 
ing more barren, but because of the harbor, since ships coming 
from the Indias lie there for the convenience of the harbor; and 
the wares purchased there are carried through all Egypt. Toward 
this arm the Hebrews hastened through the wilderness, and they 
came to the sea itself and encamped, finding fresh water. It was 
in this place, shut in by the wilderness as well as by the sea, that 

1( rhe square brackets indicate where less significant sections of the text have 
been summarized. 2 The Pyramids, apparently. 3 Gregory's geography is mixed. 


they encamped, as it is written: " Pharaoh, hearing that the sea 
and the wilderness shut them in and that they had no way by which 
they could go, set out in pursuit of them." And when they were 
close upon them and the people cried to Moses, he stretched out 
his wand over the sea, according to the command of the Deity, 
and it was divided, and they walked on dry ground, and, as the 
Scripture says, they crossed unharmed under Moses' leadership, a 
wall of water on either hand, to that shore which is before Mount 
Sinai, while the Egyptians were drowned. And many tales are 
told of this crossing, as I have said. But we desire to insert in 
this account what we have learned as true from the wise, and espe- 
cially from those who have visited the place. They actually say 
that the furrows which the wheels of the chariots made remain to 
the present time and are seen in the deep water as far as the eye 
can trace them. And if the roughness of the sea obliterates them 
in a slight degree, when the sea is calm they are divinely renewed 
again as they were. Others say that they returned to the very 
bank where they had entered, making a small circuit through the 
sea. And others assert that all entered by one way ; and a good 
many, that a separate way opened to each tribe, giving this evidence 
from the Psalms: "Who divided the Red Sea in parts." l But 
these parts ought to be understood according to the spirit and not 
according to the letter. For there are many parts in this world, 
which is figuratively called a sea. For all cannot pass to life 
equally or by one way. Some pass in the first hour, that is those 
who are born anew by baptism and are able to endure to the depar- 
ture from this life unspotted by any defilement of the flesh. Others 
in the third hour, plainly those who are converted later in life; 
others in the sixth hour, being those who hold in check the heat of 
wanton living. And in each of these hours, as the evangelist relates, 
they are hired for the work of the Lord's vineyard, each according 
to his faith. These are the parts in which the passage is made 
across this sea. As to the opinion that upon entering the sea they 
kept close to the shore and returned, these are the words which the 
Lord said to Moses: "Let them turn back and encamp before 
Phiahiroth which is between Magdalum and the sea before Bel- 
sephon." There is no doubt that this passage of the sea and the 

1 Psalms cxxxv. 13. 


pillar of cloud typified our baptism, according to the words of the 
blessed Paul the apostle: "I would not, brethren, have you igno- 
rant that our fathers were all under the cloud and all baptized unto 
Moses in the cloud and in the sea." And the pillar of fire typified 
the holy Spirit. Now from the birth of Abraham to the going forth 
of the children of Israel from Egypt and the crossing of the Red 
Sea, which was in the eightieth year of Moses, there are reckoned 
four hundred and sixty-two years. 

[u. The Israelites spend forty years in the wilderness. 12. 
From the crossing of the Jordan to David. 13. Solomon. 14. 
Division of the kingdom into Judaea and Israel. 15. The cap- 
tivity. 1 6. From the captivity to the birth of Christ.] 

17. In order not to seem to have knowledge of the Hebrew 
race alone 1 we shall tell what the remaining kingdoms were in the 
time of the Israelites. In the time of Abraham Ninus ruled over 
the Assyrians ; Eorops over the Sitiones ; among the Egyptians it 
was the sixteenth government, which they call in their own tongue 
dynasty. In Moses' time lived Trophas, seventh king of the Argives ; 
Cecrops, first in Attica ; Generis, who was overwhelmed in the Red 
Sea, twelfth among the Egyptians;. Agatadis, sixteenth among 
the Assyrians; Maratis was ruler of the Sicionii. . . . 2 

[18. Beginning of the Roman empire ; founding of Lyons, a city 
afterwards ennobled by the blood of martyrs. 19. Birth of Christ. 
20. Christ's crucifixion. 21. Joseph is imprisoned and escapes mi- 
raculously . 2 2 . James fasts from the death of the Lord to the resur- 
rection. 23. The day of the Lord's resurrection is the first, not the 
seventh. 24. Pilate transmits an account of Christ to Tiberius. 
The end of Pilate and of Herod. 25. Peter and Paul are executed 
at Rome by order of Nero, who later kills himself. 26. The mar- 
tyrs, Stephen, James and Mark ; burning of Jerusalem by Vespasian ; 
death of John. 27. Persecution under Trajan. 28. The rise of 
heresy. Further persecutions. 29. The martyrs of Lyons. Iren- 
aeus, second bishop, converts the whole city. His death and that 
of " vast numbers," of whom Gregory knows of forty-eight.] 

1 Gregory's purpose is not realized. 

2 Jerome's Chronicle was the source for the history summarized here. It is clear 
that Gregory had not much sense of the historical perspective in spite of a list of 
names which might impress his audience. He passes directly from " Servius the sixth 
king of Rome " to Julius Caesar the founder of the empire. 


30. Under the emperor E)ej:iusjmjm^^ 

the name of Christ, and there was such a slaughter of believers that 
they could not be numbered. Babillas, bishop of Antioch, with 
his three little sons, Urban, Prilidan and Epolon, and Xystus, 
bishop of Rome, Laurentius, an archdeacon, and Hyppolitus, were 
made perfect by martyrdom because they confessed the name of 
the Lord. Valentinian and Novatian were then the chief heretics 
and were active against our faith, the enemy urging them on. _At_ 
this time^ sevenjiien were ordained as bishops anoL_sent into the 
Gaoals tojpreach^ as the history of the^rnart^5oiriof the Jholyjnartyr 
Sa^urnjrius relates. For it says : "In the consulship ofDecius and 
Gratus, as faithful memory recalls, tfrp n'ty n 

Saturninus as its first and greatest bishop." These bish- 
,- ops were sent: bishop (Jatianus to Tours; bishop Trophimus to 
Aries ; bishop Paul to Narbonne ; bishop Saturninus to Toulouse ; 
bishop Dionisius to Paris ; bishop Stremonius to Clermont ; bishop 
Martial to Limoges. 

And of these the blessed Dionisius, bishop of Paris, after suffer- 
ing divers pains in Christ's name, ended the present life by the 
threatening sword. And Saturninus, already certain of martyrdom, 
said to his two priests: "Behold, I am now to be offered as a victim 
and the time of my death draws near. I ask you not to leave me 
at all before I come to the end." But when he was seized and was 
being dragged to the capitol he was abandoned by them and was 
dragged alone. And so when he saw that he was abandoned he is 
said to have made this prayer; "Lord Jesus Christ, grant my re- 
quest from holy heaven, that this church may never in all time have 
the merit to receive a bishop from among its citizens." And we 
know that to the present it has been so in this city. And he was 
tied to the feet of a mad bull, and being sent headlong from the 
capitol he ended his life. Catianus, Trophimus, Stremonius, Paul 
and Marcial lived in the greatest sanctity, winning people to the 
church'and^ spfeHflirig ' the"~f aith of Christ among all, and dJedm 
peace, confessing the faith. And thus the former by martyrdom, 
as well lis the latterTiy confession, left the earth and were united 
in the heavens. 

31. One of their disciples went to the city of Bourges and car- 
ried to the people the news of Christ the lord as the saviour of all. 


A few of them believed and were ordained priests and learned the 
ajn>^^ to build^TcEurclT 

and how they ought to observe the worship of the omnipotent 
God. But as they had small means for buikfing as yet," tHe~citizefis" 
asked for "the house of a certain man to use for a church. But the 
senators and the rest of the better class of the place were at that 
time devoted to the heathen religion and the believers were of the 
poor, according to the word of the Lord with which he reproached 
the Jews saying; "Harlots and publicans go into the kingdom of 
God before you." And they did not obtain the house from the 
person from whom they asked it, but they found a certain Leo- 
cadius, 1 the first senator of the Gauls, who was of the family of 
Vectius Epagatus, who, we have said above, suffered in Lyons in 
Christ's name. And when they had made known to him at the 
same time their petition and their faith he answered; "If my own 
house in the city of Bourges were worthy of this work I would not 
refuse to offer it." And when they heard this they fell at his feet 
and offered three hundred gold pieces on a silver dish and said 
the house was very worthy of this mystery. And he accepted three 
gold pieces from them for a blessing and kindly returned the rest, 
although he was yet entangled in the error of idolatry, and he be- 
came a Christian and made his house a church. This is now the 
first church in the city of Bourges, built with marvelous skill and 
made illustrious by the relics of Stephen, the first martyr. 

32. Valerian and Gallienus received the Roman imperial power 
in the twenty-seventh place, and set on foot a cruel persecution 
of the Christians. At that time Cornelius brought fame to Rome 
by his happy death, and Cyprian to Carthage. In their time also 
Chrocus the famous king of the Alemanni raised an army and over- 
ran the Gauls. This Chrocus is said to have been very arrogant. 
And when he had committed a great many crimes he gathered 
the tribe of the Alemanni, as we have stated, by the advice, 
it is said, of his wicked mother, and overran the whole of the 
Gauls, and destroyed from their foundations all the temples which 
had been built in ancient times. And coming to Clermont he set 

1 Gregory's paternal grandmother was Leocadia, who traced her descent from 
Vectius Epagatus. See Historia Francorum ed. Arndt, Introd. p. 4, in Monumenta 
Germaniae Historica. The story related above was from Gregory's family tradition. 


on fire, overthrew and destroyed that shrine which they call Vasso 
Galatae in the Gallic tongue. It had been built and made strong 
with wonderful skill. And its wall was double, for on the inside 
it was built of small stone and on the outside of squared blocks. 
The wall had a thickness of thirty feet. It was adorned on the 
inside with marble and mosaics. The pavement of the temple 
was also of marble and its roof above was of lead. 

[33. Martyrs of Clermont. 34. The bishop of Gevaudan is 
maltreated by the Alemanni.] 

35. Under Diocletian, who was emperor of Rome in the thirty- 
third place, a cruel persecution of the Christians was kept up for 
four years, at one time in the course of which great numbers of 
Christians were put to death, on the sacred day of Easter, for wor- 
shiping the true God. At that time Quirinus, bishop of the 
church of Sissek, 1 endured glorious martyrdom in Christ's name. 
The cruel pagans cast him into a river with a millstone tied to his 
neck, and when he had fallen into the waters he was long supported 
on the surface by a divine miracle, and the waters did not suck him 
down since the weight of crime did not press upon him. And a 
multitude of people standing around wondered at the thing, and 
despising the rage of the heathen they hastened to free the bishop. 
He saw this and did not permit himself to be deprived of martyr- 
dom, and raising his eyes to heaven he said: " Jesus lord, who 
sittest in glory at the right hand of the Father, suffer me not to be 
taken from this course, but receive my soul and deign to unite me 
with thy martyrs in eternal peace." With these words he gave up 
the ghost, and his body was taken up by the Christians and rever- 
ently buried. 

36. Constantine was the thirty-fourth emperor of the Romans, 
and he reigned prosperously for thirty years. In the eleventh 
year of his reign, when peace had been granted to the churches after 
the death of Diocletian, our blessed patron Martin was born at 
Sabaria, a city of Pannonia, of heathen parents, who still were not 
of the lowest station. This Constantine in the twentieth year of 
his reign caused the death of his son Crispus by poison, and of his 
wife Fausta by means of a hot bath, because they had plotted to 
betray his rule. In his time the venerated wood of the Lord's 

1 In Hungary. 


cross was found, through the zeal of his mother Helen on the infor- 
mation of Judas, a Hebrew who was called Quiriacus after baptism. 
The historian Eusebius comes down to this period in his chronicle. 
The priest Jerome continues it from the twenty-first year of Con- 
stantine's reign. He informs us that the priest Juvencus wrote the 
gospels in verse at the request of the emperor named above. 

[37. James of Nisibis and Maximin of Treves. 38. Hilarius 
bishop of Poitiers.] 

39. At that time our light arose and Gaul was traversed by 
the rays of a new lamp, that is, the most blessed Martin then began 
to preach Jrrthe^GaulSj^and he overcame the unbelieToTtEeligatlieii, 
showing among the people by many miracles that Christ the Son 
of God was the true God. He destroyed heathen shrines, crushed 
heresy, built churches, and while he was glorious for many other 
miracles, he completed his title to fame by restoring three dead 
men to life. At Poitiers, in the fourth year of Valentinian and 
Valens, Saint Hilarius passed to heaven full of sanctity and faith, 
a priest of many miracles ; for he too is said to have raised the dead. 

[40. Melania's journey to Jerusalem.] 

41. After the death of Valentinian, Valens, who succeeded to 
the undivided empire, gave orders that the monks be compelled 
to serve in the army, and commanded that those who refused should 
be beaten with clubs. After this the Romans fought a very fierce 
battle in Thrace, in which there was such slaughter that the Romans 
fled on foot after losing their horses, and when they were being cut 
to pieces by the Goths, and Valens was fleeing with an arrow wound, 
he entered a small hut, the enemy closely pursuing, and the little 
dwelling was burned over him. And he was deprived of the burial 
he desired. And thus the divine vengeance finally came for shed- 
ding the blood of the saints. Thus far Jerome; from this period 
the priest Orosius wrote at greater length. 

[42. The pious emperor Theodosius. 43. The emperor Maxi- 
mus with capital at Treves. 44. Urbicus, second bishop of Cler- 
mont, and his wife. 45. Hillidius, third bishop of Clermont, and 
his miracles. 46. Nepotian and Arthemius, fourth and fifth 
bishops of Clermont. 47. Legend of the two lovers of Clermont.] 

48. In the second year of the reign of Arcadius and Honorius, 
Saint Martin, bishop of Tours, departed this life at Candes, a 


village of his diocese, and passed happily to Christ in the eighty- 
first year of his life and the twenty-sixth of his episcopate, a man 
full of miracles and holiness, doing many services to the infirm. 
He passed away at midnight of the Lord's day, in the consulship 
of Atticus and Csesarius. Many heard at his passing away the 
sound of psalm-singing in heaven, which I have spoken of at greater 
length in the first book of his Miracles. Now as soon as the saint 
of God fell sick at the village of Candes, as we have related, the 
people of Poitiers came to be present at his death, as did also the 
people of Tours. And when he died, a great dispute arose between 
the two peoples. For the people of Poitiers said : "As a monk, he 
is ours ; as an abbot, he belonged to us ; we demand that he be 
given to us. Let it be enough for you that when he was a bishop 
on earth you enjoyed his conversation, ate with him, were strength- 
ened by his blessings and cheered by his miracles. Let all that 
be enough for you. Let us be permitted to carry away his dead 
body." To this the people of Tours replied : "If you say that the 
working of his miracles is enough for us, let us tell you that while 
he was placed among you he worked more miracles than he did here. 
For, to pass over most of them, he raised two dead men for you, 
and one for us; and as he used often to say himself, there was 
more virtue in him before he was bishop than after. And so it is 
necessary that he complete for us after death what he did not finish 
in his lifetime. For he was taken away from you and given to us 
by God. If a custom long established is kept, a man shall have 
his tomb by God's command in the city in which he was ordained. 
And if you desire to claim him because of the right of the monastery, 
let us tell you that his first monastery was at Milan." While they 
were arguing in this way the sun sank and night closed in. And 
the body was placed in the midst, and the doors were barred and 
the body was guarded by both peoples, and it was going to be car- 
ried off by violence by the people of Poitiers in the morning. But 
omnipotent God was unwilling that the city of Tours should be 
deprived of its protector. Finally at midnight the whole band from 
Poitiers were overwhelmed with sleep and no one remained out of 
this multitude to keep watch. Then when the people of Tours 
saw that they had fallen asleep they seized on the clay of the holy 
body and some thrust it out the window and others received it 


outside, and placing it in a boat they went down the river Vienne 
with all their people and entered the channel of the Loire, and made 
their way to the city of Tours with great praises and plentiful psalm- 
singing, and the people of Poitiers were waked by their voices, and 
having no treasure to guard they returned to their own place 
greatly crestfallen. An$ if any one asks why there was only one 
bishop, that is, Litorius, after the death of bishop Gatianus to the 
time of Saint Martin, let him know that for a long time the city of 
Tours was without the blessing of a bishop, owing to the resistance 
of the heathen! For they who lived as Christians at that time 
celebrated the divine office secretly and in hiding. FQrJLany_hris- 
tians were found by the heathen they were punished with stripes or 
slain by the sword. 

Now from the suffering of the Lord to the passing of Saint 
Martin, 412 years are included. 



1. The episcopate of Bricius. 

2. The Vandals and the persecution of the Christians under them. 

3. Cyrola the heretics' bishop and the holy martyrs. 

4. The persecution under Athanaric. 

5. Bishop Aravatius and the Huns. 

6. St. Stephen's church in the city of Metz. 

7. The wife of ^tius. 

8. What the historians have written about ^Etius. 

9. What the same say of the Franks. 

10. What the prophets of the Lord write about the images of the nations. 

11. The emperor Avitus. 

12. King Childeric and Egidius. 

13. The episcopate of Venerandus and of Rusticus in Auvergne. 

14. The episcopate of Eustochius at Tours and of Perpetuus; St. Martin's 


15. The church of St. Simphorianus. 

16. Bishop Namatius and the church at Clermont. 

17. His wife and St. Stephen's church. 

18. How Childeric went to Orleans and Odoacer to Angers. 

19. War between the Saxons and Romans. 

20. Duke Victor. 

21. Bishop Eparchius. 

22. Bishop Sidonius. 

23. The holiness of bishop Sidonius and the visitation of the divine vengeance 

for the wrongs done to him. 

24. The famine in Burgundy and Ecdicius. 

25. The persecutor Euvarege. 

26. Death of the holy Perpetuus and the episcopates of Volusianus and Virus. 

27. Clovis becomes king. 

28. Clovis marries Clotilda. 

29. Death of their first son in his baptismal garments. 

30. War with the Alamanni. 

31. Clevis's baptism. 

32. War with Gundobad. 

33. Killing of Godegisel. 

34. How Gundobad wished to be converted. 



35. Clovis and Alaric have an interview. 

36. Bishop Quintian. 

37. War with Alaric. 

38. King Clovis is made patrician. 

39. Bishop Licinius. 

40. Killing of Sigibert the elder and his son. 

41. Killing of Chararic and his son. 

42. Killing of Ragnachar and his brothers. 

43. Death of Clovis. 



FOLLOWING the order of time we shall mingle together in our 
tale the miraculous doings of the saints and the slaughters of the 
nations. I do not think that we shall be condemned thoughtlessly 
if we tell of the happy lives of the blessed together with the deaths 
of the wretched, since it is not the skill of the writer but the suc- 
cession of times that has furnished the arrangement. The atten- 
tive reader, if he seeks diligently, will find in the famous histories 
of the kings of the Israelites that under the just Samuel the wicked 
Phineas perished, and that under David, whom they called Strong- 
hand, the stranger Goliath was destroyed. Let him remember 
also in the time of the great prophet Elias, who prevented rains 
when he wished and when he pleased poured them on the parched 
ground, who enriched the poverty of the widow by his prayer, what 
slaughters of the people there were, what famine and what thirst 
oppressed the wretched earth. Let him remember what evil Jeru- 
salem endured in the time of Hezekiah, to whom God granted fifteen 
additional years of life. Moreover under the prophet Elisha, who 
restored the dead to life and did many other miracles among the 
peoples, what butcheries, what miseries crushed the very people of 
Israel. So too Eusebius, Severus and Jerome in their chronicles, 
and Orosius also, interwove the wars of kings and the miracles 
of the martyrs. We have written in this way also, because it is 
thus easier to perceive in their entirety the order of the centuries 
and the system of the years down to our day. And so, leaving 
the histories of the writers who have been mentioned above, we 
shall describe at God's bidding what was done in the later time. 

i. After the death of the blessed Martin, bishop of Tours, a 
very great and incomparable man, whose miracles fill great volumes 
in our possession, Bricius succeeded to the bishopric. Now this 
'Bricius, when he was a young man and the saint was yet living in 



the body, used to lay many traps for him, because he was often 
accused by Saint Martin of following the easy way. And one day 
when a sick man was looking for the blessed Martin in order to get 
medicine from him he met Bricius, at this time a deacon, in the 
square, and he said to him in a simple fashion: " Behold I am 
seeking the blessed man, and I don't know where he is or what he 
is doing." And Bricius said: "If you are seeking for that crazy 
person look in the distance ; there he is, staring at the sky in 
his usual fashion, as if he were daft." And when the poor man 
had seen him and got what he wanted, the blessed Martin said to 
the deacon : "Well, Bricius, I seem to you crazy, do I ? " And when 
the latter, in confusion at this, denied he had said so, the saint 
replied: "Were not my ears at your lips when you said this at a 
distance? Verily I say unto you that I have prevailed upon God 
that you shall succeed to the bishop's office after me, but let me tell 
you that you will surfer many misfortunes in your tenure of the 
office." Bricius on hearing this laughed and said: "Did I not 
speak the truth that he uttered crazy words ? " Furthermore, when 
he had attained to the rank of priest, he often attacked the blessed 
man with abuse. But when he had become bishop by the choice 
of the citizens, he devoted himself to prayer. And although he 
was proud and vain he was nevertheless considered chaste in his 
body. Butjp.--the thirty-third year after his ^ordination there 
arose agajSst him aTfaffiffptahte ground for accusation. For a 
woman to whom his servants used to give his garments to be washed, 
one who had changed her garb on the pretext of religion, conceived 
and bore a child. Because of this the whole population of Tours 
arose in wrathand laid the whole blame on the bishop, wishing with 
one accord to stone him. For they said: "The piety of a holy 
man has too long been a cover for your wantonness. But God 
does not any longer allow us to be polluted by kissing your unworthy 
hands." But he denied the charge forcibly. "Bring the infant 
to me," said he. And when the infant, which was thirty days old, 
was brought, the bishop said to it: "I adjure you in the name 
of Jesus Christ, son of omnipotent God, to declare publicly to 
all if I begot you." And the child said : "It is not you who are 
my father." When the people asked him to inquire who was the 
father, the bishop said: "That is not my affair. I was troubled 


in so far as the matter concerned me ; inquire for yourselves what- 
ever you want." Then they asserted that this had been done by 
magic arts, and arose against him in a conspiracy, and dragged him 
along, saying: "You j&all not rule us any longer underthe false 
name of a shepherd." And to satisfy the people he plaoecf red-hoF 
coals in his cloak and drawing it close to him he walked as far as 
the tomb of the blessed Martin along with throngs of the people. 
And when the coals were cast down before the tomb his robe was 
seen to be unburned. And he said: "Just as you see this robe 
uninjured by the fire, so too my body is undefiled by union with a 
woman." And when they did not believe but denied it, he was 
dragged, abused, and cast out, in order that the words of the saint 
might be fulfilled : "Let me tell you that you will suffer many 
misfortunes in your episcopate." When he was cast out they 
appointed Justinian to the office of bishop. Finally Bricius went 
to see the pope of the city of Rome, weeping and wailing and say- 
ing-: "Rightly do I suffer this because I sinned against a saint of 
God and often called him crazy and daft; and when I saw his 
miracles I did not believe." And after his departure the people 
of Tours said to their bishop : "Go after him and attend to your 
own interest, for if you do not attack him, you shall be humiliated 
by the contempt of us all." And Justinian went forth from Tours 
and came to Vercelli, a city of Italy, and was smitten by a judg- 
ment of God and died in a strange country. The people of Tours 
heard of his death, and persisting in their evil course, they appointed 
Armentius in his place. But bishop Bricius went to Rome and 
related to the pope all that he had endured. And while he remained 
at the apostolic see he often celebrated the solemn ceremony of the 
mass, weeping for the wrong he had done to the saint of God. In 
the seventh year he left Rome and by the authority of that pope 
purposed to return to Tours. And when he came to the village 
called Mont-Louis at the sixth mile-stone from the city, he resided 
there. Now Armentius was seized with a fever and died at mid- 
night. This was at once revealed to bishop Bricius in a vision, 
and he said to his people: "Rise quickly, so that we may go to 
bury our brother, the bishop of Tours." And when they came 
and entered one gate of the city, behold they were carrying his dead 
body out by another. And when he was buried, Bricius returned 


to the bishop's chair and lived happily seven years after. And when 
he died in the forty-seventh year of his episcopate, Saint Eusto- 
chius, a man of magnificent holiness, succeeded him. 

2. After this the Vandals left their own country and burst into 
the Gauls under king Gunderic. And when the Gauls had been 
thoroughly laid waste they made for the Spains. The Suebi, that 
is, Alamanni, following them, seized Gallicia. Not long after, a 
quarrel arose between the two peoples, since they were neighbors. 
And when they had gone armed to the battle, and were already at 
the point of fighting, the king of the Alemanni said : "Why are all 
the people involved in war? Let our people, I pray, not kill one 
another in battle, but let two of our warriors go to the field in arms 
and fight with one another. Then he whose champion wins shall 
hold the region without strife.'' To this all the people agreed, that 
the whole multitude might not rush on the edge of the sword. In 
these days king Gunderic had died and in his place Thrasamund held 
the kingdom. And in the conflict of the champions the side of the 
Vandals was overcome, and, his champion being slain, Thrasamund 
promised to depart, and so, when he had made the necessary prep- 
arations for the journey, he removed from the territories of Spain. 

About the same time Thrasamund persecuted the Christians, 
and by torture and different sorts of death tried to force all Spain 
to consent to the perfidy of the Arian sect. And it so happened 
that a certain maiden bound by religious vows was brought to 
trial. She was very rich and of the senatorial nobility according 
to the ranking of the world, and what is nobler than all this, strong 
in the catholic faith and a blameless servant of Almighty God. 
And when she was brought before the eyes of the king he first began 
to coax her with kind words to be baptized again. And when she 
repelled his venomous shaft by the armor of the faith, the king 
commanded that wealth be taken from her who already in her 
heart possessed the kingdom of paradise, and later that she should 
be tortured without hope of this life. Why make a long story? 
After long examinations, after losing the treasure of earthly riches, 
when she could not be forced to attack the blessed Trinity she was 
led against her will to be re-baptized. And when she was being 
forcibly immersed in that filthy bath and was crying loudly; "I 
believe that the Father and the holy Spirit are of one substance with 


the Son," when she said this she stained the water with a worthy 
ointment, 1 that is, she denied it with excrement. Then she was 
taken to the examination according to the law, and after the needle, 
flame and claw, she was beheaded for Christ the lord. After this 
the Vandals crossed the sea, the Alemanni following as far as 
Tangier, and were dispersed throughout all Africa and Mauretania. 

[3. Persecutions of Catholics by Arians under the Vandal king 
Honeric of Africa. 4. The same, under the Gothic king Athanaric 
of Spain. 5. Journey of Bishop Aravatius of Tongres to Rome 
that he might avert by prayer the threatened invasion of the Huns. 
But there he learns that "it was sanctioned in the council of the 
Lord that the Huns must come into the Gauls and ravage them." 
He returns to Tongres and dies.] 

6. Now the Huns left Pannonia and, as certain say, on the very 
watch-night of holy Easter arrived at the city of Metz, after dev- 
astating the country, and gave the city over to burning, slaying 
the people with the edge of the sword and killing the very priests 
of the Lord before the holy altars. And there remained in the city 
no place unburned except the oratory of the blessed Stephen, the 
deacon and first martyr. And I do not hesitate to tell what I have 
heard from certain persons about this oratory. For they say that 
before these enemies came, a man of the faith saw in a vision the 
blessed levite Stephen as if conferring with the holy apostles Peter 
and Paul, and speaking as follows about this disaster : "I beg you, 
my lords, to prevent by your intercession the burning of the city 
of Metz by the enemy, because there is a place in it in which the 
relics of my life on earth are preserved ; rather let the people learn 
that I have some influence with God. But if the wickedness of 
the people has grown too great, so that nothing else can be done ex- 
cept deliver the city to burning, at least let this oratory not be 
consumed." And they replied to him: "Go in peace, beloved 
brother, your oratory alone the fire shall not burn. But as for the 
city, we shall not prevail, because the sentence of the will of the 
Lord has already gone out over it. For the sin of the people has 
grown great, and the outcry of their wickedness ascends to the 
presence of God; therefore this city shall be burned with fire." 

1 For aqua sanguine cuncta infecit read digne aquas unguine infecit. See Bonnet, 
Le Latin de Gregoire de Tours, p. 457. 


Whence it is certain that it was by the intercession of these that 
when the city was burned the oratory remained unharmed. 

7. And Attila king of the Huns went forth from Metz and 
when he had crushed many cities of the Gauls he attacked Orleans 
and strove to take it by the mighty hammering of battering rams. 
Now at that time the most blessed Annianus was bishop in the city 
just mentioned, a man of unequaled wisdom and praiseworthy 
holiness, whose miracles are faithfully remembered among us. And 
when the people, on being shut in, cried to their bishop, and asked 
what they were to do, trusting in God he advised all to prostrate 
themselves in prayer, and with tears to implore the ever present 
aid of God in their necessities. Then when they prayed as he had 
directed, the bishop said: "Look from the wall of the city to see 
whether God's mercy yet comes to your aid." For he hoped that 
by God's mercy ^Etius was coming, to whom he had recourse before 
at Aries when he was anxious about the future. But when they 
looked from the wall, they saw no one. And he said: "Pray 
faithfully, for God will free you this day." When they had prayed 
he said: "Look again." And when they looked they saw no one 
to bring aid. He said to them a third time: "If you pray faith- 
fully, God comes swiftly." And they besought God's mercy with 
weeping and loud cries. When this prayer also was finished they 
looked from the wall a third time at the old man's command, and 
saw afar off a cloud as it were arising from the earth. When they 
reported this the bishop said : "It is the aid of the Lord." Mean- 
while, when the walls were now trembling from the hammering of 
the rams and were just about to fall, behold, ytius came, and 
Theodore, king of the Goths and Thorismodus his son hastened to 
the city with their armies, and drove the enemy forth and defeated 
him. And so the city was freed by the intercession of the blessed 
bishop, and they put Attila to flight. And he went to the plain 
of Moirey and got ready for battle. And hearing this, they made 
manful preparations to meet him. . . . 

^Etius with the Goths and Franks fought against Attila. And 
the latter saw that his army was being destroyed, and escaped by 
flight. And Theodore, king of the Goths, was slain in the battle. 
Now let no one doubt that the army of Huns was put to flight by 
the intercession of the bishop mentioned above. And so ^Etius 


the patrician, along with Thorismodus, won the victory and de- 
stroyed the enemy. And when the battle was finished, ^Etius said 
to Thorismodus: "Make haste and return swiftly to your native 
land, for fear you lose your father's kingdom because of your 
brother." The latter, on hearing this, departed speedily with the 
intention of anticipating his brother, and seizing his father's 
throne first. At the same time ^Etius by a stratagem caused the 
king of the Franks to flee. When they had gone, ^Etius took the 
spoils of the battle and returned victoriously to his country with 
much booty. And Attila retreated with a few men. Not long after 
Aquileia was captured by the Huns and burned and altogether 
destroyed. Italy was overrun and plundered. Thorismodus, 
whom we have mentioned above, overcame the Alans in battle, 
and was himself defeated later on by his brothers, after many 
quarrels and battles, and put to death. 

[8. The history of Renatus Frigeridus is quoted for the char- 
acter of ytius and an account of his death.] 

9. The question who was the first of the kings of the Franks is 
disregarded by many writers. Though the history of Sulpicius 
Alexander tells much of them, still it does not name their first king, 
but says that they had dukes. However, it is well to relate what 
he says of them. For when he tells that Maximus, losing all hope 
of empire, remained within Aquileia, almost beside himself, he 
adds : "At that time the Franks burst into the province of Germany 
under Genobaud, Marcomer, and Sunno, their dukes, and having 
broken through the boundary wall they slew most of the people 
and laid waste the fertile districts especially, and aroused fear 
even in Cologne. And when word was carried to Treves, Nanninus 
and Quintinus, the military officers to whom Maximus had in- 
trusted his infant son and the defense of the Gauls, assembled an 
army and met at Cologne. Now the enemy, laden with plunder 
after devastating the richest parts of the provinces, had crossed the 
Rhine, leaving a good many of their men on Roman soil all ready 
to renew their ravages. An attack upon these turned to the ad- 
vantage of the Romans, and many Franks perished by the sword 
near Carbonniere. And when the Romans were consulting after 
their success whether they ought to cross into Francia, Nanninus 
said no, because he knew the Franks would not be unprepared and 


would doubtless be stronger in their own land. And since this 
displeased Quintinus and the remainder of the officers, Nanninus 
returned to Mayence, and Quintinus crossed the Rhine with his 
army near the stronghold of Neuss, and at his second camp from 
the river he found dwellings abandoned by their occupants and 
great villages deserted. For the Franks pretended to be afraid 
and retired into the more remote tracts, where they built an abattis 
on the edge of the woods. And so the cowardly soldiers burned all 
the dwellings, thinking that to rage against them was the winning 
of victory, and they passed a wakeful night under the burden of 
their arms. At the first glimmer of dawn they entered the wooded 
country under Quintinus as commander of the battle, and wandered 
in safety till nearly mid-day, entangling themselves in the winding 
paths. At last, when they found everything solidly shut up by 
great fences, they struggled to make their exit into the marshy 
fields which were adjacent to the woods, and the enemy appeared 
here and there, and sheltered by trunks of trees or standing on the 
abattis as if on the summit of towers, they sent as if from engines 
a shower of arrows poisoned by the juices of herbs, so that sure 
death followed even superficial wounds inflicted in places that were 
not mortal. Later the army was surrounded by the enemy in 
greater number, and it eagerly rushed into the open places which 
the Franks had left unoccupied. And the horsemen were the first 
to plunge into the morasses, and the bodies of men and animals 
fell indiscriminately together, and they were overwhelmed by their 
own confusion. The foot soldiers also who had escaped the hoofs 
of the horses were impeded by the mud, and extricated themselves 
with difficulty, and hid again in panic in the woods from which 
they had struggled a little before. And so the ranks were thrown 
into disorder and the legions cut in pieces. Heraclius, tribune 
of the Jovinians, and nearly all the officers were slain, when night 
and the lurking places of the woods offered a safe escape to a few." 
This he narrated in the third book of his History. 

And in the fourth book, when he tells of the killing of Victor, 
son of Maximus, the tyrant, he says: "At that time Carietto and 
Sirus who had been appointed in place of Nanninus, were absent 
in the province of Germany with the army opposed to the Franks." 
And a little later when the Franks had taken booty from Germany, 


he added: "Arbogastes, wishing no further delay, warned Caesar 
that the punishment due must be exacted from the Franks, unless 
they speedily restored all the plunder they had taken the previous 
year when the legions were destroyed, and delivered up the insti- 
gators of the war to be punished for their treachery in breaking 
the peace." He related that this had been done under the leader- 
ship of dukes and says further : "A few days later he held a hasty 
conference with Marcomer and Sunno, princes 1 of the Franks and 
required hostages of them as usual, and then retired to Treves to 
spend the winter." But when he calls them princes, we do not 
know whether they were kings or held in the place of kings. 
Still the same writer, when he told of the hard straits of the 
emperor Valentinian, added this: "While events of various sorts 
were taking place in the East throughout Thrace, the public order 
was disturbed in Gaul. Valentinian the emperor was shut up in 
Vienne in the palace, and reduced almost below the position of a 
private person, and the military command was given over to the 
Frankish allies, and even the civil offices fell under the control of 
Arbogast's faction, and no one of all the oath-bound soldiery was 
found to dare to heed the familiar speech or obey the command 
of the emperor." Then he says: "In the same year Arbogast 
pursued with heathenish hate the princes of the Franks, Sunno 
and Marcomer, and hastened to Cologne in the depth of winter, 
since he knew that all the retreats of Francia could be safely 
penetrated and ravaged with fire when the woods, left bare and 
dry by the fall of the leaves, could not conceal men lying in am- 
bush. And so he gathered an army and crossed the Rhine, and 
devastated the country of the Brictori, near the bank, and also the 
district which the Chamavi inhabit, and no one met him any- 
where, except that a few of the Ampsivarii and Chatti appeared 
with Marcomer as duke on the ridges of distant hills." At 
another time this writer, no longer mentioning dukes and 
princes, openly asserts that the Franks had a king, and without 
mentioning his name he says: "Then the tyrant Eugenius 
undertook a military expedition, and hastened to the Rhine to 
renew in the customary way the old alliances with the kings of the 
Alemanni and the Franks and to threaten the barbarian nations at 

1 Regalibus. 


that time with a great army." So much the historian mentioned 
above wrote about the Franks. 

Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus, whom we have already men- 
tioned, in his story of the capture and destruction of Rome by the 
Goths, says: " Mean time when Goare had gone over to the Ro- 
mans, Respendial, king of the Alamanni, turned the army of his 
people from the Rhine, since the Vandals were getting the worse 
of the war with the Franks, having lost their king Godegisil, and 
about 20,000 of the army, and all the Vandals would have been 
exterminated if the army of the Alamanni 1 had not come to their 
aid in time." It is surprising to us that when he names the kings 
of the other nations he does not name the king of the Franks as 
well. However, when he says that Constantine, after seizing 
imperial power, commanded his son Constantius to come to him 
from the Spains, he speaks as follows: "The tyrant Constantine 
summoned from the Spains his son Constans, also a tyrant, in 
order to consult with him about their general policy; and so 
Constans left at Saragossa his court and his wife, and gave Geron- 
tius charge over all in the Spains, and hastened. to his father with- 
out breaking his journey. And when they met, many days passed 
and there was no danger from Italy, and Constantine gave himself 
up to gluttony and urged his son to return to Spain. And while 
Constans was sending his troops forward, being still with his father, 
news came from Spain that Maximus, one of his clients, had been 
given imperial authority by Gerontius, and was securing a fol- 
lowing of the barbarians. Alarmed at this, they sent Edobeccus 
forward to the German tribes, and Constans and Decimus Rusticus, 
now a prefect, he had been master of the offices, hastened to 
the Gauls, with the intention of presently returning to Constantine 
with the Franks and Alamanni and all the soldiers." 

Again, when he writes that Constantine was being besieged, he 
uses these words: "The fourth month of the siege of Constantine 
was scarcely yet under way, when news came suddenly from farther 
Gaul that lovinus had assumed royal state, and was threatening 
the besiegers with the Burgundians, Alamanni, Franks, Alans, 
and all his army. So the attack on the walls was hastened, the 
city opened its gates, and Constantine surrendered. He was sent 

1 Alamanni for Alani. 


hastily into Italy, and was slain at the river Mincio by assassins 
sent to meet him by the emperor." And a little later the same 
writer says: "At the same time Decimus Rusticus, prefect of the 
tyrants, Agrcetius, one of the chief secretaries of Jovinus, and 
many nobles, were captured in Auvergne by the commanders of 
Honorius and cruelly put to death. The city of Treves was plun- 
dered and burnt in a second inroad of the Franks." And when 
Asterius had been made a patrician by an imperial letter, he adds 
this: "At the same time Castinus, count of the body-guard, 
undertook an expedition against the Franks and was sent into the 
Gauls." This is what these have told of the Franks. And the 
historian Horosius says in the seventh book of his work: "Stilico 
gathered the nations, crushed the Franks, crossed the Rhine, 
wandered through the Gauls, and made his way as far as the 

This is the evidence that the historians who have been named 
have left us about the Franks, and they have not mentioned kings. 
Many relate that they came from Pannonia and all dwelt at first 
on the bank of the Rhine, and then crossing the Rhine they passed 
into Thuringia, and there among the villages and cities appointed 
long-haired kings over them from their first or, so to speak, noblest 
family. This title Clovis' victories afterwards made a lasting one, 
as we shall see later on. We read in the Fasti Consulares that 
Theodomer, king of the Franks, son of Richimer, and Ascyla his 
mother, were once on a time slain by the sword. They say also 
that Chlogio, a man of ability and high rank among his people, 
was king of the Franks then, and he dwelt at the stronghold of 
Dispargum which is within the borders of the Thuringians. And 
in these parts, that is, towards the south, the Romans dwelt as far 
as the Loire. But beyond the Loire the Goths were in control ; 
the Burgundians also, who belonged to the sect of the Arians, 
dwelt across the Rhone in the district which is adjacent to the 
city of Lyons. And Chlogio sent spies to the city of Cambrai, and 
they went everywhere, and he himself followed and overcame the 
Romans and seized the city, in which he dwelt for a short time, and 
he seized the land as far as the river Somme. Certain authorities 
assert that king Merovech, whose son was Childeric, was of the 
family of Chlogio. 


10. Now this people seems to have always been addicted to/ 
heathen worship, and they did not know God, but made them- 
selves images of the woods and the waters, of birds and beasts, 
and of the other elements as well. They were wont to worship 
these as God and to offer sacrifice to them. O ! would that that 
terrible voice had touched the fibers of their hearts which spoke 
through Moses to the people saying, "Thou shalt have no other 
gods before 'me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven 
image nor worship any likeness of anything that is in heaven or 
on earth or in the water; thou shalt not make them and shalt 
not worship them." . . . 

And in Isaiah he speaks a second time : "I am the first, and I 
am the last, and besides me there is no god and creator whom I 
do not know. They that fashion a graven image are all of them 
vanity, and the things that they delight in shall not profit them. 
They are themselves witnesses of what they are, that they do 
not see nor have understanding, and they are confounded in them. 
Behold all his fellows shall be put to shame, for the workmen are 
of men. On the coals and with hammers did he form it, and he 
worked it with his strong arm. In like manner, too, the carpenter 
fashioned it with compasses, and made the likeness of a man as if 
of a comely man dwelling in a house. He hewed down the wood, 
he worked and made a graven image, and worshiped it as a god, 
he fastened it with nails and hammers so that it should not fall 
to pieces. They are carried because they cannot walk ; and the 
remainder of the wood is prepared by men for the hearth and they 
are warmed. And from another he made a god, and a graven 
image for himself. He bends before it and worships it and prays, 
saying: 'Deliver me, for thou art my god. I burned half of it 
with fire ; and baked bread upon its coals ; I baked flesh and ate, 
and from the residue I shall make an idol, I shall worship before a 
wooden trunk; part of it is ashes.' The foolish heart worshiped 
it, and did not deliver his soul. And he does not say : ' Perhaps 
there is a lie in my right hand ? ' ' The nation of the Franks did 
not understand at first; but it understood later, as the following 
history relates. 

[n. Avitus, citizen of Clermont, emperor of Rome, and bishop 
of Placentia.l 


12. Childeric was excessively wanton and being king of the 
Franks he began to dishonor their daughters. And they were angry 
with him on this account and took his kingdom from him. And 
when he learned that they wished also to kill him he hastened to 
Thuringia, leaving there a man who was dear to him to calm their 
furious tempers ; he arranged also for a sign when he should be 
able to return to his country, that is, they divided a gold piece 
between them and Childeric took one half and his friend kept the 
other part, saying: "Whenever I send you this part and the 
joined parts make one coin, then you shall return securely to your 
native place." Accordingly Childeric went off to Thuringia and 
remained in hiding with king Basinus and Basina his wife. The 
Franks, after he was driven out, with one accord selected as king 
Egidius, whom we have mentioned before as the commander of 
the troops sent by the republic. And when he was in the eighth 
year of his reign over them that faithful friend secretly won the 
good will of the Franks and sent messengers to Childeric with the 
part of the divided coin which he had kept, and Childeric learned 
by this sure sign that he was wanted by the Franks, and returned 
from Thuringia at their request and was restored to his kingdom. 
Now when these princes were reigning at the same time, the Basina 
whom we have mentioned above left her husband and came to 
Childeric. And when he asked anxiously for what reason she had 
come so far to see him it is said that she answered : "I know your 
worth," said she, "and that you are very strong, and therefore I 
have come to live with you. For let me tell you that if I had known 
of any one more worthy than you in parts beyond the sea I should 
certainly have sought to live with him." And he was glad and 
united her to him in marriage. And she conceived and bore a son 
and called his name Clovis. He was a great and distinguished 

[13. Artemius, bishop of Clermont, is succeeded by Venerandus, 
and he by Rusticus.] 

14. In the city of Tours after the death of bishop Eustochius 
in the iyth year of his episcopate, Perpetuus was ordained fifth 
bishop after the blessed Martin. And when he saw that miracles 
were being worked continually at Saint Martin's tomb, and that 
the chapel which had been built over it was a tiny one, he judged 


it unworthy of such miracles, and moving it away he built there a 
great church which remains to the present day, situated 550 paces 
from the city. It is 160 feet long and 60 wide and 45 high to the 
vault; it has 32 windows in the part around the altar, 20 in the 
nave; 41 columns; in the whole building 52 windows; 120 
columns ; 8 doors, three in the part around the altar and five in the 
nave. The feast of the church is given sanctity by a triple virtue ; 
that is, the dedication of the temple, the transfer of the body of 
the saint, and his ordination as bishop. This feast you shall ob- 
serve four days before the Nones of July, and remember that his 
burial is the third day before the Ides of November. And if you 
celebrate these faithfully, you will merit the protection of the 
blessed bishop both in the present life and that to come. And 
since the ceiling of the former chapel was of choice workmanship 
the bishop thought it unworthy that this work should perish, and 
he built another church in honor of the blessed apostles Peter and 
Paul in which he placed the ceiling. He built many other churches 
which remain to the present time in Christ's name. 

[15. Eufronius, bishop of Autun, who " piously sent the block 
of marble which is placed above the holy tomb of the blessed 

1 6. Now after the death of the bishop Rusticus, saint Namatius 
became the eighth bishop of Clermont. He undertook the task of 
building the older church which is still standing and is contained 
within the walls of the city, one hundred and fifty feet in length, 
sixty in width, that is, the nave, fifty in height to the vault, 
with a round apse in front and on each side aisles finely built ; the 
whole building is laid out in the form of a cross ; it has forty-two 
windows, seventy columns, eight doors. The fear of God is in it 
and a great brightness is seen, and in the spring a very pleasant 
fragrance as if of spices is perceived there by the devout. It has 
near the altar walls of variegated work adorned with many kinds 
of marble. The blessed bishop on finishing the building in the 
twelfth year, sent priests to Bologna in Italy, to procure relics of 
saints Agricola and Vitalis, who we know very certainly were 
crucified in the name of Christ our God. 

17. His wife built the church of Saint Stephen in the outskirts 
of the city. And wishing to adorn it with colors she used to carry 


a book in her bosom, reading the histories of ancient times and 
describing to the painters what they were to represent on the walls. 
It happened one day that while she sat in the church and read, a 
certain poor man came to pray, and seeing her in black clothing, 
already an old woman, he thought she was one of the needy, and 
he took out part of a loaf and put it in her lap and went off. But 
she did not disdain the gift of the poor man who did not know her, 
but took it and thanked him and put it away, and setting it before 
her at meals used it as holy bread until it was used up. 

1 8. Now Childeric fought at Orleans and Odoacer came with 
the Saxons to Angers. At that time a great plague destroyed the 
people. Egidius died and left a son, Syagrius by name. On his 
death Odoacer received hostages from Angers and other places. 
The Britanni were driven from Bourges by the Goths, and many 
were slain at the village of Deols. Count Paul with the Romans 
and Franks made war on the Goths and took booty. When Odoacer 
came to Angers, king Childeric came on the following day, and slew 
count Paul, and took the city. In a great fire on that day the house 
of the bishop was burned. 

19. After this war was waged between the Saxons and the 
Romans ; but the Saxons fled and left many of their people to be 
slain, the Romans pursuing. Their islands were captured and 
ravaged by the Franks, and many were slain. In the ninth month 
of that year, there was an earthquake. Odoacer made an alliance 
with Childeric, and they subdued the Alamanni, who had overrun 
part of Italy. ^= 

20. Euric, king of the Goths, in the i4th year of his reign, 
placed duke Victorius in command of seven cities. And he went at 
once to Clermont, and desired to add it to the others, and writings 
concerning this exist to the present. He gave orders to set up at 
the church of Saint Julian the columns which are placed there. 
He gave orders to build the church of Saint Laurentius and saint 
Germanus at the village of Licaniacus. He was at Clermont nine 
years. He brought charges against Euchirius, a senator, whom he 
ordered to be put in prison and taken out at night, and after having 
him bound beside an old wall he ordered the wall to be pushed over 
upon him. As for himself, since he was over-wanton in his love for 
women, and was afraid of being killed by the people of Auvergne, 


he fled to Rome, and there was stoned to death because he wished 
to practise a similar wantonness. Euric reigned four years after 
Victorius's death, and died in the twenty-seventh year of his reign. 
There was also at that time a great earthquake. 

[21. Bishop Eparchius of Clermont finds his church at night 
full of demons.] 

22. The holy Sidonius was so eloquent that he generally im- 
provised what he wished to say without any hesitation and in the 
clearest manner. And it happened one day that he went by invi- 
tation to a fete at the church of the monastery which we have 
mentioned before, and when his book, by which he had been wont to 
celebrate the holy services, was maliciously taken away, he went 
through the whole service of the fete improvising with such readiness 
that he was admired by all, and it was believed by the bystanders 
that it was not a man who had spoken there but an angel. And 
this we have set forth more fully in the preface of the book which 
we have composed about the masses written by him. Being a, 
man of wonderful holiness and, as we have said, one of the first of 
the senators, he often carried silver dishes away from home, un- 
known to his wife, and gave them to poor people. And whenever 
she learned of it, she was scandalized at him, and then he used to 
give the value to the poor and restore the dishes to the house. 

[23. Terrible fate of priests who rebelled against their bishop. 
24. In time of famine in Burgundy Ecdicius feeds more than four 
thousand persons. 25. The Gothic king Evatrix persecutes the 
Christians in southwestern Gaul. 26. A bishop being " suspected 
by the Goths" is carried a captive into Spain.] 

27. After these events Childeric died and Clovis his son reigned 
in his stead. In the fifth year of his reign Siagrius, king of the 
Romans, son of Egidius, had his seat in the city of Soissons which 
Egidius, who has been mentioned before, once held. And Clovis 
came against him with Ragnachar, his kinsman, because he used 
to possess the kingdom, and demanded that they make ready a 
battle-field. And Siagrius did not delay nor was he afraid to re- 
sist. And so they fought against each other and Siagrius, seeing 
his army crushed, turned his back and fled swiftly to king Alaric 
at Toulouse. And Clovis sent to Alaric to send him back, other- 
wise he was to know that Clovis would make war on him for his 


refusal. And Alaric was afraid that he would incur the anger of 
the Franks on account of Siagrius, seeing it is the fashion of the 
Goths to be terrified, and he surrendered him in chains to Clovis' 
envoys. And Clovis took him and gave orders to put him under 
guard, and when he had got his kingdom he directed that he be 
executed secretly. At that time many churches were despoiled 
by Clovis' army, since he was as yet involved in heathen error. 
Now the army had taken from a certain church a vase of wonderful 
size and beauty, along with the remainder of the utensils for the 
service of the church. And the bishop of the church sent mes- 
sengers to the king asking that the vase at least be returned, if he 
could not get back any more of the sacred dishes. On hearing this 
the king said to the messenger: " Follow us as far as Soissons, 
because all that has been taken is to be divided there and when 
the lot assigns me that dish I will do what the father 1 asks." Then 
when he came to Soissons and all the booty was set in their midst, 
the king said : "I ask of you, brave warriors, not to refuse to grant 
me in addition to my share, yonder dish," that is, he was speaking 
of the vase just mentioned. In answer to the speech of the king 
those of more sense replied : " Glorious king, all that we see is yours, 
and we ourselves are subject to your rule. Now do what seems 
well-pleasing to you; for no one is able to resist your power." 
When they said this a foolish, envious and excitable fellow lifted 
his battle-ax and struck the vase, and cried in a loud voice : "You 
shall get nothing here except what the lot fairly bestows on you." 
At this all were stupefied, but the king endured the insult with the 
gentleness of patience, and taking the vase he handed it over to the 
messenger of the church, nursing the wound deep in his heart. 
And at the end of the year he ordered the whole army to come 
with their equipment of armor, to show the brightness of their 
arms on the field of March. And when he was reviewing them all 
carefully, he came to the man who struck the vase, and said to 
him: "No one has brought armor so carelessly kept as you; for 
neither your spear nor sword nor ax is in serviceable condition." 
And seizing his ax he cast it to the earth, and when the other had 
bent over somewhat to pick it up, the king raised his hands and 

1 papa. The word was used in the early Middle Ages in unrestricted, informal 
sense, and applied widely to bishops. Cf. Du Cange, Glossarium. 


drove his own ax into the man's head. "This," said he, "is what 
you did at Soissons to the vase." Upon the death of this man, he 
ordered the rest to depart, raising great dread of himself by this 
action. He made many wars and gained many victories. In the 
tenth year of his reign he made war on the Thuringi and brought 
them under his dominion. 

28. Now the king of the Burgundians was Gundevech, of the 
family of king Athanaric the persecutor, whom we have mentioned 
before. He had four sons ; Gundobad, Godegisel, Chilperic and 
Godomar. Gundobad killed his brother Chilperic with the 
sword, and sank his wife in water with a stone tied to her neck. 
His two daughters he condemned to exile ; the older of these, who 
became a nun, was called Chrona, and the younger Clotilda. And 
as Clovis often sent embassies to Burgundy, the maiden Clotilda 
was found by his envoys. And when they saw that she was of 
good bearing and wise, and learned that she was of the family of 
the king, they reported this to King Clovis, and he sent an embassy 
to Gundobad without delay asking her in marriage. /And Gundo- 

^. bad was afraid to refuse, and surrendered her to theinen, and they 
took the girl and brought her swiftly to the king. The king was 
very glad when he saw her, and married her, having already by a 
<:oncubme a son named Theodoric. 

29. He had a first-born son by queen Clotilda, and as his wife 
wished to consecrate him in baptism, she tried unceasingly to per- 
suade her husband, saying: "The gods you worship are nothing, 
and they will be unable to help themselves or any one else. For 
they are graven out of stone or wood or some metal. And the 
names you have given them are names of men and not of gods, as 
Saturn, who is declared to have fled in fear of being banished from 
his kingdom by his son ; as Jove himself, the foul perpetrator of 
all shameful crimes, committing incest with men, mocking at his 
kinswomen, not able to refrain from intercourse with his own 
sister as she herself says: Jovisque et soror et conjunx. What 
could Mars or Mercury do? They are endowed rather with the 
magic arts than with the power of the divine name. But he ought 
rather to be worshipped who created by his word heaven and earth, 
the sea and all that in them is out of a state of nothingness, who 
made the sun shine, and adorned the heavens with stars, who 


divine fragrance : and the Lord gave such grace to those who 
stood by that they thought they were placed amid the odors of 
paradise. And the king was the first to ask to be baptized by the 
bishop. Another Constantine advanced to the baptismal font, to 
terminate the disease of ancient leprosy and wash away with 
fresh water the foul spots that had long been borne. And when 
he entered to be baptized, the saint of God began with ready 
speech: " Gently bend your neck, Sigamber; worship what you 
burned ; burn what you worshipped." The holy bishop Remi was 
a man of excellent wisdom and especially trained in rhetorical 
studies, and of such surpassing holiness that he equalled the miracles 
of Silvester. For there is extant a book of his life which tells 
that he raised a dead man. And so tl^Hn^j^^fe^s^o^ji-rjawerful 
God in the Trinity^ and was baptized in the name of the Father, 
Son and Holy Spirit, and was anointed with the holy ointment with 
the sign of the cross of Christ. AncLnLhis army jnore tharu^ooo- 
wffre . baptised./ His sister also, Albofled, was baptized, who not 
long after passed to the Lord. And when the king was in mourn- 
ing for her, the holy Remi sent a letter of consolation which began 
in this way: "The reason of your mourning pains me, and pains 
me greatly, that Albofled your sister, of good memory, has passed 
away. But I can give you this comfort, that her departure from 
the world was such that she ought to be envied rather than 
mourned." Another sister also was converted, Lanthechild by 
name, who had fallen into the heresy of the Arians, and she con- 
fessed that the Son and the holy Spirit were equal to the Father, 
and was anointed. 

32. At that time the brothers Gundobad and Godegisel were 
kings of the country about the Rhone and the Saone together with 
the province of Marseilles. And they, as well as their people, 
belonged to the Arian sect. And since they were fighting with 
each other, Godegisel, hearing of the victories of King Clovis, sent 
an embassy to him secretly, saying: "If you will give me aid in 
attacking my brother, so that I may be able to kill him in battle 
or drive him from the country, I will pay you every year whatever 
tribute you yourself wish to impose." Clovis accepted this offer 
gladly, and promised aid whenever need should ask. And at a 
time agreed upon he marched his army against Gundobad. On 


hearing of this, Gundobad, who did not know of his brother's 
treachery, sent to him, saying : "Come to my assistance, since the 
Franks are in motion against us and are coming to our country to 
take it. Therefore let us be united against a nation hostile to us, 
lest because of division we suffer in turn what other peoples have 
suffered." And the other said: "I will come with my army, and 
will give you aid." And these three, namely, Clovis against 
Gundobad and Godegisel, were marching their armies to the same 
point, and they came with all their warlike equipment to the strong- 
hold named Dijon. And they fought on the river Ouche, and 
Godegisel joined Clovis, and both armies crushed the people of 
Gundobad. And he perceived the treachery of his brother, whom 
he had not suspected, and turned his back and began to flee, hasten- 
ing along the banks of the Rhone, and he came to the city of Avignon. 
And Godegisel having won the victory, promised to Clovis a part 
of his kingdom, and departed quietly and entered Vienne in triumph, 
as if he now held the whole kingdom. King Clovis increased his 
army further, and set off after Gundobad to drag him from his 
city and slay him. He heard it, and was terrified, and feared that 
sudden death would come to him. However he had with him Ari- 
dius, a man famed for energy and wisdom, and he sent for him 
and said: "Difficulties wall me in on every side, and I do not 
know what to do, because these barbarians have come upon us to 
slay us and destroy the whole country." To this Aridius answered : 
"You must soften the fierceness of this man in order not to perish. 
Now if it is pleasing in your eyes, I will pretend to flee from you 
and to pass over to his side, and when I come to him, I shall pre- 
vent his harming either you or this country. Only be willing to 
do what he demands of you by my advice, until the Lord in his 
goodness deigns to make your cause successful." And Gundobad 
said: "I will do whatever you direct." When he said this, Ari- 
dius bade him good-by and departed, and going to King Clovis 
he said: "Behold I am your humble servant, most pious king, I 
come to your protection, leaving the wretched Gundobad. And 
if your goodness condescends to receive me, both you and your 
children shall have in me a true and faithful servant." Clovis 
received him very readily, and kept him by him, for he was enter- 
taining in story-telling, ready in counsel, just in judgment, and 


faithful in what was put in his charge. Then when Clovis with all 
his army sat around the walls of the city, Aridius said : "O King, 
if the glory of your loftiness should kindly consent to hear the few 
words of my lowliness, though you do not need counsel, yet I 
would utter them with entire faithfulness, and they will be advan- 
tageous to you and to the cities through which you purpose to go. 
Why," said he, "do you keep your army here, when your enemy 
sits in a very strong place? If you ravage the fields, lay waste 
the meadows, cut down the vineyards, lay low the olive-yards, and 
destroy all the produce of the country, you do not, however, succeed 
in doing him any harm. Send an embassy rather and impose 
tribute to be paid you every year, so that the country may be safe 
and you may rule forever over a tributary. And if he refuses, 
then do whatever pleases you." The king took this advice, and 
commanded his army to return home. Then he sent an embassy 
to Gundobad, and ordered him to pay him every year a tribute. 
And he paid it at once and promised that he would pay it for the 

33. Later he regained his power, and now contemptuously 
refused to pay the promised tribute to king Clovis, and set his 
army in motion against his brother Godegisel, and shut him up 
in the city of Vienne and besiegeo^fiim. And when food began to be 
lacking for the common people, Godegisel was afraid that the 
famine would extend to himself, and gave orders that the common 
people be expelled from the city. When this was done, there was 
driven out, among the rest, the artisan who had charge of the 
aqueduct. And he was indignant that he had been cast out from 
the city with the rest, and went to Gundobad in a rage to inform 
him how to burst into the city and take vengeance on his brother. 
Under his guidance an army was led through the aqueduct, and 
many with iron crowbars went in front, for there was a vent in the 
aqueduct closed with a great stone, and when this had been pushed 
away with crowbars, by direction of the artisan, they entered the 
city, and surprised from the rear the defenders who were shooting 
arrows from the wall. The trumpet was sounded in the midst of the 
city, and the besiegers seized the gates, and opened them and 
entered at the same time, and when the people between these two 
battle lines were being slain by each army, Godegisel sought refuge 


4n the church of the heretics, and was slain there along with the 
Arian bishop. Finally the Franks who were with Godegisel 
gathered in a tower. But Gundobad ordered that no harm should 
be done to a single one of them, but seized them and sent them 
in exile to king Alaric at Toulouse, and he slew the Burgundian 
senators who had conspired with Godegisel. He restored to his 
own dominion all the region which is now called Burgundy. He 
established milder laws for the Burgundians lest they should 
oppress the Romans. 

[34. King Gundobad is converted to the doctrine of the Trinity 
but will not confess it in public. The writings of bishop Avitus 
are described.] 

35. Now when Alaric, king of the Goths, saw Clovis conquer- 
ing nations steadily, he sent envoys to him saying : "If my brother 
consents, it is the desire of my heart that with God's favor we have 
a meeting." Clovis did not s^nrn this proposal but went to meet 
him. They met in an island of the Loire which is near the village of 
Amboise in the territory of Tours, and they talked and ate and 
drank together, and plighted friendship and departed in peace. 
Even at that time many in the Gauls desired greatly to have the 
Franks as masters. 

36. Whence it happened that Quintian, bishop of Rodez, was 
driven from his city through ill-will on this account. For they 
said: "It is your desire that the rule of the Franks be extended 
over this land." A few days later a quarrel arose between himl 
and the citizens, and the Goths who dwelt in the city became sus- I 
picious when the citizens charged that he wished to submit him- / 
self to the control of the Franks ; they took counsel and decided to^ 
slay him with the sword. When this was reported to the man of 
God he rose in the night and left the city of Rodez with his most 
faithful servants and went to Clermont. There he was received 
kindly by the holy bishop Eufrasius, who had succeeded Aprun- 
culus of Dijon, and he kept Quintian with him, giving him houses 
as well as fields and vineyards, and saying: "The wealth of this 
church is enough to keep us both ; only let the charity which the 
blessed apostle preaches endure among the bishops of God." More- 
over the bishop of Lyons bestowed upon him some of the possessions 
of the church which he had in Auvergne. And the rest about the 


holy Quintian, both the plottings which he endured and the miracles 
which the Lord deigned to work through him, are written in the 
book of his life. v ' ox 

37. Now Clovis the king said to his people: "I take it very 
hard that these Arians hold part of the Gauls. Let us go with 
God's help and conquer them and bring the land under our control." 
Since these words pleased all, he set his army in motion and made 
for Poitiers where Alaric was at that time. But since part of the host 
was passing through Touraine, he issued an edict out of respect to 
the blessed Martin that no one should take anything from that 
country except grass for fodder, and water. But one from the 
army found a poor man's hay and said : "Did not the king order 
grass only to be taken, nothing else? And this," said he, "is 
grass. We shall not be transgressing his command if we take it." 
And when he had done violence to the poor man and taken his 
hay by force, the deed came to the king. And quicker than speech 
the offender was slain by the sword, and the king said: "And 
where shall our hope of victory be if we offend the blessed Martin ? 
It would be better for the army to take nothing else from this 
country." The king himself sent envoys to the blessed church 
saying: "Go, and perhaps you will receive some omen of victory 
from the holy temple." Then giving them gifts to set up in the 
holy place, he said: "If thou, O Lord, art my helper, and hast 
determined to surrender this unbelieving nation, always striving 
against thee, into my hands, consent to reveal it propitiously at 
the entrance to the church of St. Martin, so that I may know that 
thou wilt deign to be favo'rable to thy servant." Clovis' servants 
went on their way according to the king's command, and drew near 
to the place, and when, they were about to enter the holy church, 
the first singer, without any prearrangement, sang this response : 
"Thou hast girded me, O Lord, with strength unto the battle; 
thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me, and 
hast made mine enemies turn their backs unto me, and thou hast 
utterly destroyed them that hated me." On hearing this singing 
they thanked the Lord, and paying their vow to the blessed con- 
fessor they joyfully made their report to the king. Moreover, 
when he came to the river Vienne with his army, he did not know 
where he ought to cross. For the river had swollen from the 


rains. When he had prayed to the Lord in the night to show him 
a ford where he could cross, in the morning by God's will a hind 
of wonderful size entered the river before them, and when it passed 
over the people saw where they could cross. When the king came 
to the neighborhood of Poitiers and was encamped some distance 
off, he saw a ball of fire come out of the church of Saint Hilarius 
and pass, as it were, over him, to show that, aided by the light of 
the blessed confessor Hilarius, he should more boldly conquer the 
heretic armies^ against which the same bishop had often fought 
for the faith. And he made it known to all the army that neither 
there nor on the way should they spoil anyone or take any one's 

There was in these days a man of praiseworthy holiness, the 
abbot Maxentius, who had become a recluse in his own monastery 
in Poitou because of his fear of God. We have not put the name 
of the monastery in this account because the place is called to the 
present day Cellula sancti Maxentii. And when his monks saw a 
division of the host approaching the monastery, they prayed to 
the abbot to come forth from his cell to consult with them. And 
as he stayed, they were panic-stricken and opened the door and 
dragged him from his cell. And he hastened boldly to meet the 
enemy to ask for peace. And one of them drew out his sword to 
launch a stroke at his head, and when he had raised his hand to 
his ear it became rigid and the sword fell. And he threw himself 
at the feet of the blessed man, asking pardon. And the rest of 
them seeing this returned in great fear to the army, afraid that 
they should all perish together. The man's arm the holy con- 
fessor rubbed with consecrated oil, and made over it the sign of 
the cross and restored it to soundness. And owing to his protec- 
tion the monastery remained uninjured. He worked many other 
miracles also, and if any one diligently seeks for them he will find 
them all in reading the book of his Life. In the, twenty-fifth year 
of Clovis. 

Meantime king Clovis met with Alaric, king of the Goths, in 
the plain of Vouille at the tenth mile-stone from Poitiers, and 
while the one army was for fighting at a distance the other tried 
to come to close combat. And when the Goths had fled as was 
their custom, king Clovis won the victory by God's aid. He had 


to help him the son of Sigibert the lame, named Chloderic. This 
Sigibert was lame from a wound in the leg, received in a battle 
with the Alemanni near the town of Ziilpich. JNow when the king 
had put the Goths to flight and slain king Alaric, two of the enemy 
suddenly appeared and struck at him with their lances, one on 
each side. But he was saved from death by the help of his coat 
of mail, as well as by his fast horse. At that time there perished 
a very great number of the people of Auvergne, who had come 
with Apollinaris and the leading senators. From this battle 
Amalaric, son of Alaric, fled to Spain and wisely seized his father's 
kingdom. Clovis sent his son Theodoric to Clermont by way of 
Albi and Rodez. He went, and brought under his father's domin- 
ion the cities from the boundaries of the Goths to the limit of the 
Burgundians. Alaric reigned twenty-two years. When Clovis 
had spent the winter in Bordeaux and taken all the treasures of 
Alaric at Toulouse, he went to Angouleme. And the Lord gave 
him such grace that the walls fell down of their own accord when 
he gazed at them. Then he drove the Goths out and brought 
the city under his own dominion. Thereupon after completing 
his victory he returned to Tours, bringing many gifts to the holy 
church of the blessed Martin. 

38. Clovis received an appointment to the consulship from the 
emperor Anastasius, and in the church of the blessed Martin he 
clad himself in the purple tunic and chlamys, and placed a diadem 
on his head. Then he mounted his horse, and in the most gener- 
ous manner he gave gold and silver as he passed along the way 
which is between the gate of the entrance [of the church of St. 
Martin] and the church of the city, scattering it among the people 
who were there with his own hand, and from that day he was called 
consul or Augustus. Leaving Tours he went to Paris and there 
he established the seat of his kingdom. There also Theodoric 
came to him. 

[39. Licinius was bishop of Tours at the time of Clovis' visit. 
His travels.] 

40. When King Clovis was dwelling at Paris he sent secretly 
to the son of Sigibert saying : "Behold your father has become an 
old man and limps in his weak foot. If he should die," said he, 
"of due right his kingdom would be yours together with our friend- 


ship." Led on by greed the son plotted to kill his father. And 
when his father went out from the city of Cologne and crossed the 
Rhine and was intending to journey through the wood Buchaw, as 
he slept at midday in his tent his son sent assassins in against him, 
and killed him there, in the idea that he would get his kingdom. 
But by God's judgment he walked into the pit that he had cruelly 
dug for his father. He sent messengers to king Clovis to tell 
about his father's death, and to say: "My father is dead, and I 
have his treasures in my possession, and also his kingdom. Send 
men to me, and I shall gladly transmit to you from his treasures 
whatever pleases you." And Clovis replied: " I thank you for 
your good will, and I ask that you show the treasures to my men 
who come, and after that you shall possess all yourself." When 
they came, he showed his father's treasures. And when they were 
looking at the different things he said : "It was in this little chest 
that my father used to put his gold coins." "Thrust in your hand," 
said they, "to the bottom, and uncover the whole." When he did 
so, and was much bent over, one of them lifted his hand and dashed 
his battle-ax against his head, and so in a shameful manner he 
incurred the death which he had brought on his father. Clovis 
heard that Sigibert and his son had been slain, and came to the 
place and summoned all the people, saying: "Hear what has 
happened. When I," said he, "was sailing down the river Scheldt 
Cloderic, son of my kinsman, was in pursuit of his own father, 
asserting that I wished him killed. And when his father was flee- 
ing through the forest of Buchaw, he set highwaymen upon him, 
and gave him over to death, and slew him. And when he was 
opening the treasures, he was slain himself by some one or other. 
Now I know nothing at all of these matters. For I cannot shed 
the blood of my own kinsmen, which it is a crime to do. But since 
this has happened, I give you my advice, if it seems acceptable ; 
turn to me, that you may be under my protection." They listened 
to this, and giving applause with both shields and voices, they raised 
him on a shield, and made him king over them. He received Sigibert's 
kingdom with his treasures, and placed the people, too, under his rule. 
For God was laying his enemies low every day under his hand, and 
was increasing his kingdom, because he walked with an upright 
heart before him, and did what was pleasing in his eyes. 


41. After this he turned to Chararic. When he had fought 
with Siagrius this Chararic had been summoned to help Clovis, 
but stood at a distance, aiding neither side, but awaiting the out- 
come, in order to form a league of friendship with him to whom 
victory came. For this reason Clovis was angry, and went out 
against him. He entrapped and captured him and his son also, 
and kept them in prison, and gave them the tonsure ; he gave 
orders to ordain Chararic priest and his son deacon. And when 
Chararic complained of his degradation and wept, it is said that 
his son remarked: "It was on green wood," said he, "that these 
twigs were cut, and they are not altogether withered. They will 
shoot out quickly, and be able to grow ; may he perish as swiftly 
who has done this." This utterance was reported to the ears of 
Clovis, namely, that they were threatening to let their hair grow, 
and kill him. And he ordered them both to be put to death. 
When they were dead, he took their kingdom with the treasures 
and people. 

42. Ragnachar was then king at Cambrai, a man so unrestrained 
in his wantonness that he scarcely had mercy for his own near 
relatives. He had a counsellor Farro, who defiled himself with a 
like vileness. And it was said that when food, or a gift, or any- 
thing whatever was brought to the king, he was wont to say that 
it was enough for him and his Farro. And at this thing the Franks 
were in a great rage. And so it happened that Clovis gave golden 
armlets and belts, but all only made to resemble gold for it was 
bronze gilded so as to deceive these he gave to Ragnachar's 
leudes to be invited to attack him. Moreover, when Clovis had 
set his army in motion against him, and Ragnachar was continually 
sending spies to get information, on the return of his messengers 
he used to ask how strong the force was. And they would answer : 
"It is a great sufficiency for you and your Farro." Clovis came 
and made war on him, and he saw that his army was beaten and 
prepared to slip away in flight, but was seized by his army, and with 
his hands tied behind his back, he was taken with Ricchar his 
brother before Clovis. And Clovis said to him: "Why have you 
humiliated our family in permitting yourself to be bound? It 
would have been better for you to die." And raising his ax he 
dashed it against his head, and he turned to his brother and said : 


"If you had aided your brother, he would not have been bound." 
And in the same way he smote him with his ax and killed him. 
After their death their betrayers perceived that the gold which 
they had received from the king was false. When they told the 
king of this, it is said that he answered : "Rightly," said he, "does 
he receive this kind of gold, who of his own will brings his own 
master to death;" it ought to suffice them that they were alive, 
and were not put to death, to mourn amid torments the wicked 
betrayal of their masters. When they heard this, they prayed for 
mercy, saying it was enough for them if they were allowed to live. 
The kings named above were kinsmen of Clovis, and their brother, 
Rignomer by name, was slain by Clovis' order at the city of Mans. 
When they were dead Clovis received all their kingdom and treasures. 
And having killed many other kings and his nearest relatives, of 
whom he was jealous lest they take the kingdom from him, he 
extended his rule over all the Gauls. However he gathered his 
people together at one time, it is said, and spoke of the kinsmen 
whom he had himself destroyed. "Woe to me, who have remained 
as a stranger among foreigners, and have none of my kinsmen to 
give me aid if adversity comes." But he said this not because of 
grief at their death but by way of a ruse, if perchance he should 
be able to find some one still to kill. 

43. After all this he died at Paris, and was buried in the church 
of the holy apostles, which he himself had built together with his 
queen Clotilda. He passed away in the fifth year after the battle 
of Vouille, and all the days of his reign were thirty years, and his 
age was forty-five. From the death of St. Martin to the death 
of king Clovis, which happened in the eleventh year of the episco- 
pate of Licinius, bishop of Tours, one hundred and twelve years 
are reckoned. Queen Clotilda came to Tours after the death of 
her husband and served there in the church of St. Martin, and 
dwelt in the place with the greatest chastity and kindness all the 
days of her life, rarely visiting Paris. 



1. The sons of Clovis. 

2. Episcopates of Dinifius, Apollinaris and Quintian. 

3. The Danes make an attack on the Gauls. 

4. The kings of the Thuringi. 

5. Sigimund kills his own son. 

6. Death of Chlodomer. 

7. War with the Thuringi. 

8. Hermenfled's death. 

9. Childebert visits Auvergne. 

10. Amalaric's death. 

11. Childebert and Clothar go to the Burgundies, Theodoric to Auvergne. 

12. Devastation of Auvergne. 

13. Lovolautrum and Chastel-Marlhac. 

14. Munderic's death. 

15. Captivity of Attalus. 

16. Sigivald. 

17. The bishops of Tours. 

18. Death of Chlodomer's sons. 

19. The holy Gregory and the site of Dijon. 

20. Theodobert is betrothed to Visigard. 

21. Theodobert departs for Provence. 

22. He later marries Deoteria. 

23. Sigivald's death. 

24. Childebert makes gifts to Theodobert. 

25. Theodobert's goodness. 

26. Death of Deoteria's daughter. 

27. Theodobert marries Visigard. 

28. Childebert and Theodobert march against Clothar. 

29. Childebert and Clothar march into the Spains. 

30. The Spanish kings. 

31. The daughter of Theodoric, king of Italy. 

32. Theodobert marches into Italy. 

33. Asteriolus and Secundinus. 

34. Theodobert's gift to the citizens of Verdun. 

35. Sirivald's death. 

36. Theodobert's death and the slaying of Parthenius. 

37. A severe winter. 




I wish, if it is agreeable, to make a brief comparison of the suc- 
cesses that have come to Christians who confess the blessed Trinity 
and the ruin which has come to heretics who have tried to destroy 
the same. And let us omit how Abraham worshipped the Trinity 
at the oak, 1 and Jacob preached it in his blessing, and Moses recog- 
nized it in the bush, and the people followed it in the cloud and 
dreaded the same in the mountain, and how Aaron carried it on 
his breastplate, or how David made it known in the Psalms, pray- 
ing to be made new by a right spirit and that the holy spirit should 
not be taken from him and that he be comforted by the chief 
spirit. And, for my part, I consider this a great mystery, namely 
that the voice of the prophet proclaimed as the chief spirit that 
which the heretics assert to be the lesser. But passing over these, 
as we have said, let us return to our times. For Arius, who was the 
first wicked inventor of this wicked sect, was subjected to infernal 
fires after he had lost his entrails in a privy. But Hilarius, the 
blessed defender of the undivided Trinity, though sent into exile 
for its sake, was restored both to his native land and to Paradise. 
King Clovis confessed it, and crushed the heretics by its aid and 
extended his kingdom over all the Gauls ; Alaric, on the other 
hand, who denied it, was deprived of kingdom and people, and 
what is more, of eternal life itself. Apj__tr>_tri lp hplWprs, p-vgn. if 
through the plots ofjhe^enemy they lose soi?thing, Jht T'^iTJ ff*- 
stores it a hundred fold, but heretics do not gain any advantage_, 
but what they seem to have is taken from them. This is proved 
by the deaths of Godegisel, Gundobad, and Godomar, who at the 
same time lost their country and their souls. But we confess one 
God, invisible, 2 infinite, incomprehensible, glorious, always the 

1 ad ilicem. Not in the Vulgate. Gregory probably used in part a rude popular 
version of the Scriptures. See Bonnet, p. 61. 2 Reading invisibilem for indivisibilem. 



same, and everlasting, one in Trinity in respect to the number of 
persons, that is, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit ; we con- 
fess him also triple in unity in respect to equality of substance, 
deity, omnipotence or power, the one greatest omnipotent God 
ruling for eternal centuries. 

i. Now on the death of king Clovis, his four sons, namely, 
Theodoric, Chlodomer, Childebert and Chlothar, received his 
kingdom and divided it among them in equal parts. Theodoric 
had already at that time a handsome and valiant son named The- 
odobert. And since they were very brave and had abundant 
strength in their army, Amalaric, son of Alaric, king of Spain, 
asked for their sister in marriage, and they kindly granted his re- 
quest, and sent her into the Spanish country with a great quantity 
of beautiful things. 

~ [2. Quintianus, ex-bishop of Rodez, is rewarded for his faith- 
fulness to the Franks by being made bishop of Clermont. 3. The 
Danes plunder the coast of Theodoric's kingdom. 4. Hermenfred 
becomes sole king of the Thuringi by Theodoric's help.] 

5. Now on Gundobad's death his son Sygismund held his 
kingdom, and he built with great skill the monastery of St. Maurice, 
with its dwellings and churches. And losing his first wife, the 
daughter of Theodoric, king of Italy, he married another, and she 
began to malign his son bitterly and make charges against him as 
is the custom of stepmothers. Frorn this it came about that on 
a day of ceremonial when the boy recognized his mother's dress on 
her, he was filled with anger, and said to her : "You are not worthy 
to have on your back those garments which are known to have 
belonged to your mistress, that is, my mother." And she was set 
on fire with rage and she stirred her husband up with crafty words, 
saying : "The wicked boy wishes to possess your kingdom, and he 
plans when you are killed to extend it as far as Italy, forsooth, 
that he may possess the kingdom which his grandfather Theodoric 
held in Italy. For he knows that while you live he cannot accom- 
plish this ; and unless you fall liejvill not rise." Sygismund was 
aroused by these words7and taJungthe advice of his wicked wife 
he became a wicked parricide. For when his son had been made 
drowsy by wine he bade him sleep in the afternoon ; and while he 
slept a napkin was placed under his neck and tied under his chin, 


and he was strangled by two servants who drew in opposite direc- 
tions. When it was done the father repented too late, and falling 
on the lifeless corpse began to weep most bitterly. And a certain 
old man is reported to have spoken to him in these words : "Hence- 
forth wail for yourself," said he, "that you have become a most 
cruel parricide through base counsel. For there is no need to wail 
for this innocent boy who has been strangled." Nevertheless he 
went off to the holy Saint Maurice and spending many days in 
weeping and fasting he prayed for pardon. After establishing 
there a perpetual service of song he returned to Lyons, the divine 
vengeance attending on his footsteps. King Theodoric had 
married his daughter. 

6. Queen Clotilda spoke to Chlodomer and her other sons, 
saying : "Let me not repent, dearest sons, that I have nursed you 
lovingly ; be angry, I beg you, at the insult to me, and avenge with 
a wise zeal the death of my father and mother." They heeded 
this ; and they hastened to the Burgundies and marched against 
Sygismund and his brother Godomar. Their army was completely 
routed and Godomar fled. But Sygismund was taken by Chlo- 
domer when he was endeavoring to make his escape to the holy 
St. Maurice, and led away captive with his wife and sons, and was 
placed under guard and kept prisoner in the territory of the city 
of Orleans. When the kings departed Godomar recovered his 
courage and gathered the Burgundians and gained his kingdom 
back. And Chlodomer was making preparations to march against 
him a second time and determined to kill Sygismund. And the 
blessed abbot Avitus, a great priest of that tune, said to him : 
"If," said he, "you would look to God and amend your counsel so 
as not to allow these men to be killed, God will be with you and 
you shall go and win the victory; but if you kill them you shall 
be surrendered yourself into the hands of your enemies and shall 
perish in the same way. And what you do to Sygismund and 
his wife and children shall be done to you and your wife and sons." 
But he despised listening to this counsel, and said: "I think it is 
foolish advice to leave enemies at home and march against the rest, 
and when the former rise up in the rear and the latter in front I 
shall fall between two armies. The victory will be won better and 
more easily if one is separated from the other; if one is slain it 


will be possible to doom the others to death easily." He gave 
orders to slay Sygismund r>i once, with his wife and children, by 
casting them into a well in the village Columna, of the city Orleans, 
and hastened to the Burgundies, summoning to his aid king The- 
odoric. And the latter promised to go, not caring to avenge the 
wrong done to his father-in-law. And when they met near Viso- 
rontia, a place of the city of Vienne, they fought with Godomar. 
And when Godomar had fled with his army and Chlodomer was 
pursuing and was separated a considerable distance from his men, 
the others, imitating his rallying cry, called to him saying : "This 
way, come this way, we are your men." And he believed it and 
went, and fell into the midst of his enemies, and cutting off his 
head and setting it on a pike they raised it aloft. The Franks saw 
this and perceived that Chlodomer was dead, and rallying, they 
put Godomar to flight and crushed the Burgundians and reduced 
their country to subjection, and Clothar immediately married his 
brother's wife, Guntheuca by name. And queen Clotilda, after 
the period of mourning was past, took his sons and kept them; 
and one of these was called Theodoald, a second, Gunther, a third, 
Chlodovald. Godomar recovered his kingdom a second time. 

7. Afterward Theodoric, remembering the wrongs done by 
Hermenfred, king of the Thuringi, called his brother Clothar to his 
aid and prepared to march against him, promising that a share of 
the plunder should be given to king Clothar, if by God's help the 
gift of victory should come to them. So he Called the Franks 
together and said to them : "Be angry, I beg of you, both because 
of my wrong and because of the death of your kinsmen, and recol- 
lect that the Thuringi once made a violent attack upon our kins- 
men and inflicted much harm on them. And they gave hostages 
and were willing to conclude peace with them, but the Thuringi 
slew the hostages with various tortures, and made an attack upon 
our kinsmen, took away all their property, and hung youths by 
the sinews of their thighs to trees, and cruelly killed more than 
two hundred maidens, tying them by their arms to the necks of 
horses, which were then headed in opposite directions, and being 
started by a very sharp goad tore the maidens to pieces. And 
others were stretched out upon the city streets and stakes were 
planted in the ground, and they caused loaded wagons to pass 


over them, and having broken their bones they gave them to dogs 
and birds for food. And now Hermenfred has deceived me in 
what he promised, and refuses to perform it at all. Behold, we 
have a plain word. Let us go with God's aid against them/' 
They heard this and were angry at such a wrong, and with heart 
and mind they attacked Thuringia. And Theodoric took his 
brother Clothar and his son Theodobert to help him and went 
with his army. And the Thuringi prepared stratagems against 
the coming of the Franks. For they dug pits in the plain where 
the fight was to take place, and covering the openings with thick 
turf they made it seem a level plain. So when they began to fight, 
many of the Frankish horsemen fell into these pits and it was a 
great obstacle to them, but when this stratagem was perceived 
they began to be on their guard. When finally the Thuringi saw 
that they were being fiercely cut to pieces and when their king 
Hermenfred had taken to flight, they turned their backs and 
came to the stream Unstrut. And there such a slaughter of the 
Thuringi took place that the bed of the stream was filled with 
heaps of corpses, and the Franks crossed upon them as if on a 
bridge to the further shore. The victory being won they took 
possession of that country and brought it under their control. 
And Clothar went back, taking with him as a captive Radegunda, 
daughter of king Berthar, and he married her, and her brother he 
afterwards killed unjustly by the hands of wicked men. She also 
turned to God, changing her garments, and built a monastery for 
herself in the city of Poitiers. And being remarkable for prayer^ 
fasting and charity, she attained such fame that she was con- \ 
sidered great by the people. And when the kings who have beenjj 
mentioned were still in Thuringia, Theodoric wished to kill his own 
brother Clothar, and preparing armed men secretly, he summoned 
him on the pretext that he wished to consult him privately. And 
stretching a tent-cloth in one part of the house from one wall to 
the other, he ordered the armed men to stand behind it. And 
since the cloth was somewhat short the feet of the armed men 
were in full sight. Clothar learned of this, and came into the house 
with his men armed also. And Theodoric perceived that he had 
learned of these things and he made a pretence, and talked of one 
thing after another. Finally, not knowing how to put a good 


appearance on his stratagem, he gave him as a favor a great silver 
dish. And Clothar said good-by and thanked him for the gift and 
returned to his place of encampment. But Theodoric complained 
to his people that he had lost his dish for no evident reason, and he 
said to his son Theodobert; "Go to your uncle and ask him to 
give you of his own free will the gift I gave him." He went, and 
got what he asked for. In such stratagems Theodoric was very 

8. He returned to his own country and urged Hermenfred to 
come to him boldly, pledging his faith, and he enriched him with 
honorable gifts. It happened, however, when they were talking 
one day on the walls of the city of Tolbiac that Hermenfred was 
pushed by some one or other, and fell from the height of the wall 
to the ground and there died. But we do not know who cast him 
down from there ; many however assert that a stratagem of The- 
odoric was plainly revealed in this. 

[9. King Childebert takes possession of Auvergne on a false 
report of Theodoric's death. 10. He leaves Auvergne and makes 
an expedition into Spain to avenge the ill-treatment of his sister 
Chlotchild by her husband Amalaric. 11-13. King Theodoric 
takes vengeance on the people of Auvergne for receiving Childe- 

14. Now Munderic, who asserted that he was a kinsman of 
the king, was puffed up with pride and said : "What have I to do 
with king Theodoric. For the throne of the kingdom is as much 
my due as his. I shall go out and gather my people, and exact an 
oath from them, that Theodoric may know that I am king just as 
much as he." And he went out, and began to lead the people 
astray, saying : "I am a chief, follow me, and it will be well with 
you." [A multitude of country people followed him, as one might 
expect from the frailty of mankind, taking the oath of fidelity 
and honoring him as a king^ And when Theodoric found this out 
he sent a command to him, saying : "Come to see me, and if any 
share of my kingdom is due you, take it." Now Theodoric said 
this deceitfully, thinking that he would kill him when he came. 
But the other was unwilling and said : " Go, bear back word to your 
king that I am king just as he is." Then the king gave orders to 
set his army in motion, in order to crush him by force and punish 


him. And he learned this, and not being strong enough to defend 
himself, he hastened to the walls of the stronghold of Vitry, and 
strove to fortify himself in it with all his property, gathering 
together those whom he had led astray. Now the army got under 
way, and surrounded the stronghold, and besieged it for seven days. 
And Munderic resisted with his people, saying: "Let us make a 
brave stand, and fight together even to death, and not submit to 
the enemy." And when the army kept hurling javelins against 
them on every side, and accomplished nothing, they reported this 
to the king. And he sent for a certain one of his people, named 
Aregyselus, and said to him: "You see," said he, "what this 
traitor is able to do in his arrogance. Go and swear an oath to 
him that he shall go forth safe. And when he has come forth, 
kill him, and blot out his memory from our kingdom." He went 
away and did as he had been ordered. He had however first given 
a sign to the people, saying: "When I speak words thus and so, 
rush upon him immediately and kill him." Now Aregyselus went 
in and said to Munderic: "How long will you sit here like one 
without sense? You will not be able to resist the king long, will 
you? Behold, your food has been cut off. When hunger over- 
comes you, you will come forth whether or no, and surrender your- 
self into the hands of the enemy, and you will die like a dog. Listen 
rather to my advice, and submit to the king, that you may be 
able to live, you and your sons." Then the other, disheartened 
by these words, said: "If I go out, I shall be seized by the king 
and slain, both I and my sons and all my friends who are gathered 
with me." And Aregyselus said to him: "Do not be afraid, but 
if you decide to go forth, receive my oath as to your crime, and 
stand securely before the king. Do not be afraid. You shall be 
on the same terms with him as you were before." To this Mun- 
deric answered : "I wish I were sure I should not be killed." Then 
Aregyselus put his hands on the holy altar, and swore to him that 
he should go out safely. So when the oath had been taken, Mun- 
deric went out from the gate of the stronghold, holding Aregyselus' 
hand, and the people gazed at him from a distance. Then as a 
sign Aregyselus said: "Why do you gaze so intently, O people? 
Did you never see Munderic before?" And at once the people 
rushed upon him. But he understood and said : "I see very plainly 


that by these words you gave a sign to the people to kill me, but 
I tell you who have deceived me by perjury, no one shall ever see 
you alive again." And he drove his lance into his back, and thrust 
it through him and he fell and died. Then Munderic unsheathed 
his sword, and with his followers made great slaughter of the 
people, and until he died did not shrink back from any one he could 
reach. And after he had been slain his property was added to the 

15. Theodoric and Childebert made a treaty, and swearing to 
each other that neither would attack the other, they took hostages 
from each other, in order that their agreement might be more 
secure. Many sons of senators were given as hostages on that 
occasion, but a quarrel arose later between the kings, and they 
were given over to servitude and those who had taken them to 
guard now made slaves of them. Many of them however escaped 
by flight, and returned to their native place, but a good many 
were kept in slavery. Among these was Attalus, nephew of the 
blessed Gregory, bishop of Langres, who became a slave and was 
appointed keeper of horses. He was in servitude to a certain bar- 
barian in the territory of Treves. Now the blessed Gregory sent 
servants to inquire for him, who found him, and offered presents 
to the man, but he rejected them contemptuously, saying: "This 
fellow, belonging to such a family, ought to be ransomed with ten 
pounds of gold." And when they had returned, a certain Leo, 
belonging to the kitchen of his master, said: "I wish you would 
give me permission, and perhaps I might be able to bring him 
back from captivity." His master was glad of the offer, and he 
went straight to the place, and desired to carry the youth away 
secretly, but could not. Then bargaining with a certain man he said : 
"Come with me, and sell me in the house of that barbarian, and 
take the profit of my price, only let me have a freer opportunity 
of doing what I have decided." After taking an oath, the man 
went and sold him for twelve gold pieces, and departed. The pur- 
chaser asked the new slave what work he could do, and he answered : 
"I am very skilled in preparing all the things that ought to be 
eaten at the tables of masters, and I am not afraid that my equal 
in skill can be found. For I tell you that even if you desire to make 
ready a feast for the king, I can prepare kingly viands, and no one 


better than I." And he said: "The day of the sun is near," 
for thus the Lord's day is usually named in the barbarian fashion 
"on this day my neighbors and kinsmen shall be invited to my 
house. I ask you to make me such a feast as to make them wonder 
and say 'we have not seen better in the king's palace.'" And the 
other said: "Let my master order a great number of fowls, 
and I will do what you command." Accordingly the preparations 
which the slave had asked for were made, and the Lord's day 
dawned, and he made a great feast full of delicacies. And- when 
all had feasted and praised the viands, the master's kinsmen went 
away. The master thanked this slave, and gave him authority 
over the food that he had ready for use, and he loved him greatly, 
and the slave used to serve food to all who were with his master. 
After the space of a year, when his master was now certain of him, 
Leo went out into a meadow which was near the house, with the 
slave Attalus, the keeper of the horses, and lying on the ground 
with him a long distance off, with their backs turned so they would 
not be recognized as together, he said to the youth: "It is time 
that we ought to be thinking of our native place. Therefore I 
advise you not to allow yourself to go to sleep to-night when you 
bring the horses to be shut in, but as soon as I call you, come, and 
let us undertake the journey." Now the barbarian had invited 
many of his kinsmen to a feast, and among them was his son-in-law, 
who had married his daughter. ./ And at midnight they rose from 
the banquet and retired to rest, and Leo attended his master's 
son-in-law to the place assigned and offered him drink. The man 
said to him: "Tell me, if you can, trusted servant of my father- 
in-law, when will you decide to take his horses and go to your own 
country." He said this in a joking way. In the same way the 
other jokingly gave the truthful answer: "To-night, I think, if it 
is God's will." And he said: "I hope my attendants will be on 
the watch that you take nothing of mine." They parted laugh- 
ingly. And when all were asleep, Leo called Attalus, and when 
the horses were saddled, he asked him if he had a sword. He 
answered: "I do not need one, I have only a small lance." But 
the other went into his master's house, and took his shield and 
spear. And when he asked who it was, and what he wanted, he 
answered: "I am Leo, your slave, and I am waking Attalus, so 


that he may rise quickly and take the horses to pasture ; for he is 
sleeping as soundly as if he were drunk." And he said: "Do as 
you please." And saying this he fell asleep. The other went out 
of doors and armed the youth, and found unbarred, by divine 
help, the gates of the yard, which at nightfall he had barred with 
wedges driven by a hammer, to keep the horses safe; thanking 
God they took the remaining horses and went off, taking also a 
roll of garments. They came to the river Moselle in order to 
cross it, and being detained by certain persons they left their 
horses and clothes and swam over the river, supported on a shield, 
and climbing the further bank they hid themselves in the woods 
amid the darkness of the night. The third night was come since 
they had been on their way without tasting food. Then by God's 
will they found a tree full of the fruit which is commonly called 
plums, and ate and were strengthened somewhat, and began the 
journey through Champagne. And as they hastened, they heard 
the tramping of horses going at a rapid gait, and they said: "Let 
us throw ourselves down on the ground, so as not to be seen by 
the men who are coming." And behold they suddenly came 
upon a great bramble bush, and they passed behind and threw 
themselves on the ground with their swords unsheathed, in order 
to defend themselves quickly from wicked men if they should be 
noticed. And when the others had come to the thorn-bush they 
stopped; and one of them said, while their horses were making 
water: "Woe is me that these accursed wretches are escaped and 
cannot be found; but by my salvation, if they are found I com- 
mand one to be condemned to the gallows, and the other to be cut 
to fragments by strokes of the sword." Now the barbarian who 
said this was their master who was coming from the city of Rheims 
seeking for them, and he would certainly have found them on the 
way if night had not prevented. Then starting their horses, they 
went off. The fugitives reached the city on this very night, and 
going in, they found a man of whom they made inquiries, and he 
told them where the house of the priest Paulellus was. And while 
they were passing through the square, the bell was rung for matins 
- for it was the Lord's day and knocking at the priest's door, 
they went in, and Leo told about his master. And the priest said 
to him: "It was a true vision I had. For last night I saw two 


doves fly toward me and settle on my hand, and one of them was 
white, and the other black." And Leo said to the priest: "May 
the Lord be kind as the day is holy. For we ask you to give us 
some food; for the fourth day is dawning since we have tasted 
bread and meat." He hid the slaves, and gave them bread soaked 
in wine, and went away to matins. The barbarian followed them, 
asking lor the boys a second time, but he was deceived by the 
priest, and he went back. For the priest had an old friendship 
with the blessed Gregory. Then the youths, after refreshing their 
strength with food, and remaining two days in the home of the 
priest, departed, and thus they came to the holy Gregory. The 
bishop rejoiced at seeing them, and wept on the neck of Attalus 
his nephew ; he set Leo free from the yoke of slavery with all his 
family, and gave him land of his own, on which he lived a free man 
with his wife and children all the days of his life. 

[16. Sigivald, duke of Auvergne, is miraculously punished for 
taking church property. 17* Seven successive bishops of Tours 
are mentioned, one of them, Leo, being "a man of energy and skill 
in the building of wooden structures."] 

1 8. While queen Clotilda was staying at Paris, Childebert saw 
that his mother loved with especial affection the sons of Chlodo- 
mer, whom we have mentioned above, and being envious and fear- 
ful that they would have a share in the kingdom through the favor 
of the queen, he sent secretly to his brother king Clothar, saying : 
"Our mother keeps our brother's sons with her, and wishes them 
to be kings. You must come swiftly to Paris, where we will take 
counsel together and discuss what ought to be done about them, 
whether their hair shall be cut and they be treated like the rest of 
the common people, or whether we shall kill them and divide our 
brother's kingdom between ourselves equally." And Clothar was 
very glad at these words, and came to Paris. Now Childebert 
had spread the report among the people that the kings were meet- 
ing for the purpose of raising the little ones to the throne. And 
when they met, they sent to the queen, who was then dwelling in 
the city, saying: "Send the little ones to us, that they may be 
raised to the throne." And she rejoiced, not knowing their 
treachery, and giving the boys food and drink, she sent them say- 
ing : "I shall not think that I have lost my son, if I see you occupy 


his place in the kingdom." And they went, and were seized at 
once, and were separated from their servants and tutors, and they 
were guarded separately, in one place the servants, in another 
these little ones. Then Childebert and Clothar sent Arcadius, 
whom we have mentioned before, to the queen, with a pair of scis- 
sors and a naked sword. And coming he showed both to the 
queen, and said: "Most glorious queen, your sons, our masters, 
ask your decision as to what you think ought to be done with the 
boys, whether you give command for them to live with shorn hair, 
or for both to be put to death." She was terrified by the news 
and at the same time enraged, especially when she saw the naked 
sword and the scissors, and being overcome with bitterness, and 
not knowing in her grief what she was saying, she said imprudently : 
"It is better for me to see them dead rather than shorn, if they are 
not raised to the kingship." But he wondered little at her grief, 
and did not think what she would say later in less haste, but went 
swiftly, taking the news and saying: "Finish the task you have 
begun with the queen's favor; for she wishes your design to be 
accomplished." There was no delay. Clothar seized the older 
boy by the arm, and dashed him to the earth, and plunging his 
hunting knife into his side, he killed him pitilessly. And while 
the child was screaming, his brother threw himself at Childebert's 
feet and seized his knees and said : "Help me, kind father, lest I 
perish like my brother." Then Childebert, his face covered with 
tears, said : "Dearest brother, I ask you to grant his life to me in 
your generosity, and let me pay for his life what you wish, only 
let him not be killed." But the other attacked him with abuse, 
and said : "Cast him from you, or you shall surely die in his place. 
It is you," said he, "that are the guilty instigator 1 of this matter. 
Do you so easily break faith?" Childebert heeded this and cast 
the boy away from him to the other, who seized him and plunged 
his knife into his side and slew him as he had his brother before : 
then they killed the servants and the tutors. When they were 
killed Clothar mounted his horse and went off, making a small 
matter of the killing of his nephews. And Childebert retired to 
the outskirts of the city. And the queen^JacedJtheir little bodies 
on a bier and followed thfinL-to^the church of St._Peter with loud 
1 Reading for incestator, instecator. Bonnet, Le Latin de Gregoire de Tours, p. 454, 5. 


singing and unbounded grief, and buried them side by side. One 
was ten years old, the other seven. But the third, Clodoald, they 
were unable to seize, since he was freed by the aid of brave men. 
He gave up his earthly kingdom and passed to the Lord's service, 
and cutting his hair with his own hand he became a clerk, busied 
with good works, and as a priest passed from this life. The two 
kings divided equally between them the kingdom of Chlodomer. 
And queen Clotilda showed herself such that she was honored by 
all; she was always diligent in alms, able to endure the whole 
night in watching, unstained in chastity and uprightness; with a 
generous and ready good-will she bestowed estates on churches, 
monasteries, and holy places wherever she saw there was need, so 
that she was believed to serve God diligently, not as a queen but 
as his own handmaid, and neither her royal sons, nor worldly am- 
bition, nor wealth, raised her up for destruction, but her humility 
exalted her to grace. 

19. There lived at that time in the city of Langres the blessed 
Gregory, a great bishop of God, renowned for his signs and mir- 
acles. And since we have spoken of this bishop, I think it not 
unpleasing to insert in this place an account of the site of Dijon, 
where he was especially active. It is a stronghold with very 
solid walls, built in the midst of a plain,' a very pleasant place, 
the lands rich and fruitful, so that when the fields are ploughed 
once the seed is sown and a great wealth of produce comes in due 
season. On the south it has the Ouche, a river very rich in fish, 
and from the north comes another little stream, which runs in at 
the gate and flows under a bridge and again passes out by another 
gate, flowing around the whole fortified place with its quiet waters, 
and turning with wonderful speed the mills before the gate. The 
four gates face the four regions of the universe, and thirty-three 
towers adorn the whole structure, and the wall is thirty feet high 
and fifteen feet thick, built of squared stones up to twenty feet, 
and above of small stone. And why it is not called a city I do 
not know. It has all around it abundant springs, and on the 
west are hills, very fertile and full of vineyards, which produce for 
the inhabitants such a noble Falernian that they disdain wine of 
Ascalon. The ancients say this place was built by the emperor 


[20. Betrothal of Theodoric's son Theodobert to Visigard. 
21. The Franks retake some of the cities taken by Clovis from the 
Goths. 22. Theodobert falls in love with Deoteria.] 

23. In those days Theodoric killed his kinsman Sigivald with 
the sword, sending secretly to Theodobert that he should slay 
Sigivald's son Sigivald whom he had with him. But he was unwilling 
to destroy him, because he had taken him from the sacred font. 
But he gave him the letter to read which his father had sent, say- 
ing: "Flee from here, because I have received my father's com- 
mand to kill you ; and if he dies and you hear that I am reigning, 
then return to me safely." On hearing this Sigivald thanked him, 
said good-by, and departed. Now at that time the Goths had 
taken possession of the city of Aries, from which Theodobert still 
had hostages. To it Sigivald fled. But he saw that he was not 
safe there, and went to Latium, and remained hidden there. While 
this was going on, word was brought to Theodobert that his father 
was seriously ill, and that if he did not hasten swiftly to him so as 
to find him alive, he would be excluded by his uncles, and would never 
be allowed to return. And he postponed everything on hearing this, 
and hastened thither, leaving Deoteria with her daughter at Cler- 
mont. And not many days after he had gone, Theodoric died, in the 
twenty- third year of his reign. And Childebert and Clothar rose 
against Theodobert and wished to take the kingdom from him, but 
he was defended by his leudes, after they had received gifts from 
him, and was established in his kingdom. He sent later to Clermont 
and summoned Deoteria thence, and married her. 

24. Childebert saw that he was not able to prevail, and sent 
an embassy to him, and bade him come to him, saying: "I have 
no sons, I wish to treat you as a son." And when he came he 
bestowed such rich gifts upon him that all wondered. For he 
presented him with three pairs of all the articles of armor, vest- 
ments, and other equipments that it becomes a king to have, and 
likewise with horses and chains. Sigivald heard this, namely, that 
Theodobert had received his father's kingdom, and returned to 
him from Italy. And Theodobert rejoiced, and kissed him, and 
bestowed upon him a third part of the gifts which he had received 
from his uncle, and he gave orders that all that his father had 
seized of the property of Sigivald's father, should be returned to him. 


25. And he was established in his kingdom, arid showed him- 
self great, and distinguished by every goodness. For he ruled his 
kingdom with justice, re^rjectin^the bishops, making gifts to the 
churches, relieving the poor, and doing kindnesses to many persons 
with a pious and generous heart. He kindly remitted all the 
tribute which was payable to his treasury from the churches situated 
in Auvergne. 

26. Now Deoteria saw that her daughter was quite grown up, 
and was afraid that the king would desire and take her. She 
placed her in a litter, to which wild oxen were yoked, and sent her 
headlong over a bridge ; and she lost her life in the river. This 
happened in the city of Verdun. 

27. As it was now the seventh year since Theodobert and 
Visigard had been betrothed, and he was unwilling to take her 
on account of Deoteria, the Franks, when they met, were greatly 
scandalized at him because he had abandoned his betrothed. 
Then he was alarmed, and abandoning Deoteria, by whom he had 
a little son named Theodobald, he married Visigard. And when 
she died not long after, he took another wife. But he did not have 
Deoteria after that. 

^'[28. Childebert and JTheodobert march against Chlothar but 
are turned back by a miraculous hailstorm sent by St. Martin.] 

29. Later king Childebert set out for Spain. And entering the 
country with Clothar, they surrounded the city of Saragossa with 
their army, and besieged it. But the besieged turned to God in 
such humility that they put on haircloth, abstained from food and 
drink, and made the round of the walls of the city with psalm- 
singing, carrying the tunic of the blessed Vincent, the martyr ; 
the women, too, followed wailing, clothed in black robes, with 
their hair hanging loose and ashes upon it, so that one would think 
they were attending the funerals of their husbands. And to such 
a degree did that city place its whole hope in God's mercy that it 
was said they were celebrating the fast of the Ninevites there, and 
there was no idea of any other possibility than that the divine 
mercy might be won by prayers. But the besiegers did not know 
what was going on, and when they saw them go around the wall in 
such a way they supposed they were engaged in some sorcery. 
Then seizing one of the common people of the place, they asked 


him what it was they were doing. And he said : " They are carry- 
ing the blessed Vincent's tunic, and at the same time they are 
praying the Lord to pity them." And they were afraid at this, 
and went away from that city. However, they acquired a very 
large part of Spain, and returned to the Gauls with great spoils. 

30. After Amalaric, Theoda was ordained king in the Spains. 
But when he was slain they raised Theodegisil to the throne. 
When he was dining with his friends and was very cheerful, suddenly 
the lights were put out in the dining hall and he was slain by his 
enemies, being thrust through with a sword. After him Agila 
became king. ^For the Goths had formed the detestable habit, of 
attacking with the sword any one of their kings who did not please 
them, and they would appoint as king any one that took their fancy. \ 

31. Theodoric of Italy having married a sister of king Clovis^l 
died, and left his wife and a little daughter. When this girl was 
grown, because of her fickle temper she refused the counsel of her 
mother, who was looking out for a king's son for her, and took her 
slave named Traguilanis, and fled with him to a city where she 
hoped to defend herself. And when her mother raged at her 
furiously, and begged her not to disgrace further a noble family, 
and said it was her duty to send the slave off and take one of equal 
rank with herself from a royal family, whom her mother had pro- 
vided, she was by no means willing to agree to it. Then her mother, 
still raging _at her, set an army in motion. And they came upon 
them, and killed Traguilanis with the sword, chastised the girl 
herself, and took her to her mother's house. Now they belonged 
to the Arian sect, and as it is their custom that of those going to 
the altar the kings receive one cup and the lesser people another, 
she put poison in the cup from which her mother was going to 
receive the communion. And she drank it and died forthwith. 
Thr-e is no doubt that such harm is from the devil. What shall 
th ". wretched heretics answer to this charge that the enemy dwells 
in their holy place? But as for us who contess^he jMnTty^^(me\ 
similar equality and omnipotence, even if we should drink a deadly 
draught in the name of the Father, Son and holy Spirit, the true 
and incorruptible God, it would not do us any harm. The Italians 
were indignant at this woman, and they invited Theodad, king of 
Tuscia, and made him king over them. When he learned what 


the harlot had been guilty of, how she had slain her mother on 
account of a slave whom she had taken, he gave orders that a bath 
be raised to a great heat, and that she be shut in the same with 
one maid. And when she entered the hot vapors she fell at once 
on the pavement, and died, and was consumed. And when the 
kings Childebert and Chlothar, her cousins, as well as Theodo- 
bert, learned this, namely, that she had been put to death in so 
shameful a manner, they sent an embassy to Theodad, blaming 
him for her death, and saying: "If you do not make an arrange- 
ment with us for what you have done, we will take your kingdom 
from you, and condemn you to a like punishment." Then he was 
afraid, and sent to them fifty thousand gold pieces. And Childe- 
bert, being as ever envious of king Clothar, and deceitful, joined 
with Theodobert his nephew, and they divided the gold between 
them, and refused to give any of it to king Clothar. But he made 
an attack upon the treasures of Chlodomer, and took much more, 
from them than that of which they had defrauded him. 

32. Theodobert went to Italy, and there made great gains. 
But as those places according to report are full of diseases, his 
army was attacked by various fevers, and many of them died there. 
Seeing this, Theodobert returned from the country and brought 
much spoil, himself and his men. It is related that at that time 
he went as far as the city of Pavia to which he again sent Bucce- 
lenus. And he captured lesser Italy and brought it under the sway 
of the king who has been mentioned, and attacked greater Italy ; 
here he fought against Belsuarius many times and won the victory. 
And when the emperor saw that Belsuarius was being beaten more 
frequently he removed him, and put Narses in his place, and, as a 
humiliation, he made Belsuarius count of the stable, a place he had 
held before. But Buccelenus fought great battles against Narses : 
capturing all Italy he extended his boundaries to the sea, and he 
sent great treasures from Italy to Theodobert. When Narses 
made this known to the emperor, the emperor hired nations and 
sent aid to Narses, and in the battle later he was defeated. Then 
Buccelenus seized Sicily and exacting tribute from it he sent it to 
the king. He enjoyed great prosperity in these matters. 

[33. Feud between Asteriolus and Secundinus, advisers of King 


34. Desideratus, bishop of Verdun, to whom king Theodoric 
had done many wrongs, was restored to liberty at the Lord's com- 
mand, after many losses and reverses and griefs, and received the 
office of bishop, as we have said, at the city of Verdun, and seeing 
its inhabitants very poor and destitute he grieved for them, and 
since he was left without his own property because of Theodoric, 
and had nothing of his own with which to relieve them, knowing 
the goodness and kindness to all of king Theodobert, he sent an 
embassy to him saying : "The fame of your goodness is spread over 
all the earth, since your generosity is such that you give aid even 
to those who do not seek it. I beg of your kindness if you have 
any money, that you lend it to us that we may be able to relieve 
our fellow-citizens; and when those in charge of business secure 
a return in our city such as the rest have, we will repay your money 
with lawful interest." Then Theodobert was stirred with pity 
and furnished seven thousand gold pieces, which the bishop received 
and paid out among his fellow-citizens. And they who were en- 
gaged in business were made rich through this and are considered 
great to the present day. And when the bishop who has been 
just mentioned offered the money which was due to the king, the 
king answered : "I have no need to take this ; it is enough for me 
if the poor men who were suffering want have been relieved by your 
care because of your suggestion and my generosity." And he 
whom we have mentioned made the citizens rich without demand- 
ing anything. 

[35. Syagrius avenges wrongs done to his father by killing 

36. After this king Theodobert began to be sick. And the 
physicians gave him much care ; but he did not get well because 
the Lord was already bidding him be summoned. And so after 
a very long illness he died of his infirmity. And as the Franks 
hated Parthenius intensely, because he had subjected them to 
tribute in the time of the king just mentioned, they began to attack 
him. He saw that he was in danger, and fled from the city, 
and humbly begged two bishops to conduct him to the city 
of Treves, and check the sedition of the frenzied people by 
their preaching. While they were on their way he was lying on 
his bed at night, and suddenly he made a loud cry in his sleep, 


saying : "Ho ! Ho ! Help, you who are here, and assist one who 
is perishing." By this shouting those who were there were 
awakened, and they asked him what the matter was. He answered : 
"Ausanius, my friend, and my wife Papianella, whom I slew long 
ago, were summoning me to judgment, saying : ' Come to defend"? 
yourself, since you are going to plead with us in the presence of 1 
the Lord." 3 Now he had slain his innocent wife and his friend 
some years before, under the influence of jealousy. Accordingly, 
the bishops approached the city just mentioned, and since they 
could not calm the sedition among the rebellious people, they 
wished to hide him in the church, placing him in a chest, and 
strewing above him vestments which were used in the church. 
The people came in, and after searching every corner of the church, 
went out in a rage when they found nothing. Then one said 
suspiciously: " Behold a chest in which our enemy has not been 
sought for." And when the guards said that there was nothing 
in it except that it contained furniture of the church, they demanded 
the key, saying : " Unless you quickly unlock it we will break it 
open ourselves." Finally the chest was unlocked, the linen cloths 
were removed, and they found him and dragged him out, rejoicing 
and saying: "God has delivered our enemy into our hands." 
Then they struck him with their fists, and spat on him, and tying 
his hands behind his back, they stoned him to death beside a 
column. He was very voracious in eating, and what he ate he ^ 
digested speedily, taking aloes in order to be made hungry soon 
again. . . . And so he perished, meeting this kind of end. 

37. In that year the winter was a grievous one and more severe 
than usual, so that the streams were held in the chains of frost and 
furnished a path for the people like dry ground. Birds, too, were 
affected by the cold and hunger, and were caught in the hand with- 
out any snare when the snow was deep. 

Now from the death of Clovis to the death of Theodobert there 
are reckoned thirty-seven years. When Theodobert died in the 
fourteenth year of his reign, Theodoald his son reigned in his stead. 



1. Queen Clotilda's death. 

2. King Clothar attempts to take a third of the revenues of the churches. 

3. His wives and children. 

4. The counts of the Bretons. 

5. The holy bishop Gallus. 

6. The priest Cato. 

7. The episcopate of Cautinus. 

8. The kings of the Spaniards. 

9. Theodovald's death. 

10. Rebellion of the Saxons. 

11. The people of Tours at the bidding of the king invite Cato to be their 


12. The priest Anastasius. 

13. Chramnus's frivolity and wickedness and about Cautinus and Firmin. 

14. Clothar makes a second expedition against the Saxons. 

15. Episcopate of the holy Eufronius. 

16. Chramnus and his followers and the crimes he committed and how he 

went to Dijon. 

17. How Chramnus deserted to Childebert. 

1 8. Duke Austrapius. 

19. Death of the holy bishop Medard. 

20. Death of Childebert and killing of Chramnus. 

21. King Clothar's death. 

22. Division of the kingdom among his sons. 

23. Sigibert marches against the Huns and Chilperic seizes his cities. 

24. The patrician Celsus. 

25. Gunthram's wives. 

26. Charibert's wives. 

27. Sigibert marries Brunhilda. 

28. Chilperic's wives. 

29. Sigibert's second war with the Huns. 

30. The people of Auvergne at King Sigibert's bidding go to take Aries. 

3 1 . About the town of Tauredunum and other marvels. 

32. The monk Julian. 

33. The abbot Sunniulf. 

34. The monk of Bordeaux. 



35. The episcopate of Avitus in Auvergne. 

36. The holy Nicetius of Lyons. 

37. The holy recluse Fiard. 

38. The Spanish kings. 

39. Death of Palladius at Clermont. 

40. Emperor Justinus. 

41. Albin and the Lombards settle in Italy. 

42. Wars between them and Mummulus. 

43. The archdeacon of Marseilles. 

44. The Lombards and Mummulus. 

45. Mummulus goes to Tours. 

46. The killing of Andarchius. 

47. Theodobert takes possession of the cities. 

48. The monastery of Latta. 

49. Sigibert goes to Paris. 

50. Chilperic enters into a treaty with Gunthram ; death of Theodobert his 


51. Death of king Sigibert. 





[i. Queen Clotilda dies at Tours and is buried at Paris.] 

2. King Clothar had ordered all the churches of his kingdom to 
y into his treasury a third of their revenues. But when all the 

other bishops, though jrr^gingly^ha^^ 

thpJT-narnPs ; f h P hlftssad Tn jn fTn^is^nnipHjJTp Command and IT^an- 
f ullvjrefused tojdgn, saying, "If you attempt ^o t^ke tlie things of 
Go5^e x Lorawi|l take a^ay your kingdom spjeedily because }t is 
wrong for yo^r storehouses to be filled with the contributions of the 
poor whom you /yourself, ought to fee4/' He was irritated with 
the king and left nis presence without saying farewell. Then the 
king was alarmed and being afraid of the power of the blessed 
Martin he sent after him with gifts, praying for pardon and admit- 
ting the wrongfulness of what he had done, and asking also that 
the bishop avert from him by prayer the power of the blessed 

3. The king had seven sons by several wives; namely, by 
Ingunda, Gunthar, Childeric, Charibert, Gunthram, Sigibert, and 
a daughter Chlotsinda; by Aregunda, sister of Ingunda, Chil- 
peric ; and by Chunsina he had Chramnus. I will tell why it was 
he married his wife's sister. When he was already married to 
IngufidaTand lo^dr4ier^alone,Jie received a hintTfrom her saying : 
"My Lord has done with his handmaid what he pleased and has 
taken me to his couch. Now let my lord the king hear what his 
servant wptfld sugges^t^fee-iuake his favor complete. I beg that 
you consent to find a husband for my sister, a man who will be of 
advantage to your servant and possess wealth, so that I shall 
not be humiliated but rather exalted and shall be able to serve you 
more faithfully." To this request he gave heed and being of a 
wanton nature he fell in love with Aregunda and went to the estate 



on which she was living and married her himself. Having done 
this he returned to Ingunda and said : "I have tried to do the favor 
which your sweet self asked of me. I sought for a man of riches and 
wisdom to unite to your sister but I found no one better than my- 
self. And so allow me to tell you that I have married her, which I 
think will not displease you." And she replied; "Let my Lord 
do what seems good in his eyes; only let his handmaid live in 
favor with the king." 

Now Gunthar, Chramnus and Childeric died in their father's 
lifetime. Of the death of Chramnus I shall write later. And 
Albin, king of the Lombards, married Chlotsinda, his daughter. 
Injuriosus, bishop of Tours, died in the seventeenth year of his 
episcopate and Baudinus, a former official of king Clothar, suc- 
ceeded him, the sixteenth after the death of the blessed Martin. 

4.^Chanao, count of the Bretons, killed three of his brothers. 
He wished to kill Macliavus also, and seized him and kept him in 
prison loaded with chains.^ But he was freed from death by 
Felix, bishop of Nantes. After this he swore that he would be 
faithful to his brother, but from some reason or other he became 
inclined to break his oath. Chanao was aware of this and began 
to attack him again and when Macliavus saw that he could not 
escape, he fled to another count of that district, Chonomor by name. 
When Chonomor learned that Macliavus' pursuers were near at 
hand, he hid him in a box underground and heaped a mound over 
it in the regular way leaving a small airhole so that he could breathe. 
And when his pursuers came, they said: "Behold here lies 
Macliavus dead and buried." On hearing this they were glad 
and drank on his tomb and reported to his brother that he was 
dead. And his brother took the whole of his kingdom. For since 
Clovis's death the Bretons have always been under the dominion 
of the Franks and [their rulers have been called counts, not kings. 
Macliavus rose from underground and went to the city of Vannes 
and there received the tonsure and was ordained bishop. But 
when Chanao died he left the priesthood, let his hair grow long, and 
took back not only his brother's kingdom but also the wife whom he 
had abandoned when he became a priest. However he was ex- 
communicated by the bishops. What his end was I shall describe 
later. Now bishop Baudinus died in the sixth year of his episco- 


pate, and the abbot Gunthar was appointed in his place, the seven- 
teenth after the passing of the blessed Martin. 

[5. How St. Gall, bishop of Clermont, averted the plague from 
his people.] 

And when Saint Gall had departed from this world and his 
body had been washed and carried to the church, Cato the priest 
immediately received the congratulations of the clergy on becoming 
bishop. And as if he were already bishop he took under his control 1 
all the church property, removed the superintendents and cast 
the lesser officials out and regulated everything himself. 

6. The bishops who came to St. Gall's funeral said to Cato the 
priest after the funeral: "We see that you are the choice of by 
far the largest part of the people ; come then, join us, and we will 
bless and ordain you as bishop. The king is very young and if 
any fault is found with you, we will take you under our protection 
and deal with the leading men of Theodovald's kingdom so that no 
wrong shall be done you. Trust us faithfully, since we promise 
that even if some loss shall come to you, we will make it all good 
from our own properties." But he was puffed up with the pride of 
vainglory and said : "You know from widespread report that from 
the beginning of my life I have always lived religiously, that I have 
fasted, delighted in almsgiving, often kept watch without ceasing 
and have frequently continued the singing of psalms without a 
break the whole night through. The Lord God to whom I have 
paid such service will not allow me to be deprived of this office. 
For I attained all the grades of the clergy as directed in the canons. 
I was reader ten years, I performed the duties of sub-deacon five 
years, I have been priest now for twenty years. What more is left 
for me except to receive the office of bishop which my faithful 
service deserves. You then return to your cities and busy yourselves 
with whatever tends to your advantage. For I intend to gain this 
office in the manner prescribed by the canons." The bishops 
heard this and departed cursing his empty boasting. 

7. He was accordingly designated to be bishop by the choice 
of the clergy, and when he had taken charge of everything though 
he was not yet ordained, he began to make various threats against 
the archdeacon Cautinus, saying : "I will cast you out, I will 
degrade you, I will cause many sorts of violent death to threaten 


you." And he answered : "I wish to have your favor, pious master ; 
and if I win it, there is one kindness I can do. Without any 
trouble on your part and without any deceit I will go to the king 
and obtain the office of bishop for you, asking no reward except 
to win your favor." But the other was suspicious that he meant 
to make a mock of him and rejected the offer with great disdain. 
And when Cautinus perceived that he was in disgrace and was the 
object of ill report he pretended sickness, and left the city by night, 
going to king Theodovald and reporting the death of Saint Gall. 
And when he and his court were informed of it they assembled 
the bishops at the city of Metz, and Cautinus the archdeacon was 
ordained bishop. And on the arrival of the messengers of the 
priest Cato he was already bishop. Then by the king's order 
these clerks were delivered over to him and all that they had 
brought from the property of the church, and bishops and officials 
of the treasury were appointed to accompany him, and they sent 
him on his way to Clermont. And he was gladly received by the 
clergy and citizens and was thus made bishop of Clermont. But 
later enmity arose between him and Cato the priest because no 
one was ever able to influence Cato to submit to his bishop. A 
division of the clergy appeared and some followed the bishop 
Cautinus and others the priest Cato. This was a great drawback 
to them. And Cautinus saw that Cato could not be forced in any 
way to submit to him and took all church property from him and 
his friends and whoever took his part, and left them weak and 
empty. But whoever of them returned to him, again received 
what he had lost. 

[8. King Agila of Spain loses cities to the emperor which his 
successor Athanagild recovers.] 

9. When Theodovald had grown up he married Vuldetrada. 
This Theodovald, they say, had a bad disposition so that when he 
was angry with any one whom he suspected of taking his property 
he would make up a fable, saying: "A snake found a jar full of 
wine. He went in by its neck and greedily drained what was 
inside. But being puffed out by the wine he could not go out by 
the opening by which he had entered. And the owner of the wine 
came, and when the snake tried to get out but could not, he said to 
him : l First vomit out what you have swallowed and then you will 


be able to go free.' " This fable made him greatly feared and hated. 
Under him Buccelenus after bringing all Italy under the rule of the 
Franks was slain by Narses, and Italy was taken by the emperor's 
party and there was no one to recover it later. In his time we saw 
grapes grow on the tree we call saucum [elder-tree] without having 
any vine on it, and the blossoms of the same trees, which as you 
know usually produce black seeds, yielded the seeds of grapes. 
At that time a star coming from the opposite direction was seen 
to enter the disk of the fifth moon. I suppose these signs announced 
the death of the king. He became very sick and could not move 
from the waist down. He gradually grew worse and died in the 
seventh year of his reign, and king Clothar took his kingdom, 
taking Vuldetrada his wife to his bed. But being rebuked by the 
bishops he left her, giving her to duke Garivald and sending his son 
Chramnus to Clermont. 

[10. King Clothar destroys the greater part of the rebellious 
Saxons and lays Thuringia waste.] 

ii. Bishop Gunthar died at Tours, and at a suggestion, it is 
said, of bishop Cautinus the priest Cato was requested to undertake 
the government of the church at Tours. And the clergy accom- 
panied by Leubastes, keeper of the relics and abbot, went in great 
state to Clermont. And when they had declared the king's will 
to Cato he would not answer them for a few days. But they wished 
to return and said : "Declare your will to us so that we may know 
what we ought to do ; otherwise we will return home. For it was 
not of our own will that we came to you but at the command of 
the king." And Cato in his greed for vainglory got together a 
crowd of poor men and instructed them to shout as follows : " Good 
father, why do you abandon us your children, whom you taught until 
now ? Who will strengthen us with food and drink if you go away ? 
We beg you not to leave us whom you are wont to support." Then 
he turned to the clergy of Tours and said : "You see now, beloved 
brothers, how this multitude of the poor loves me ; I cannot leave 
them to go with you." They received this answer and returned 
to Tours. Now Cato had made friends with Chramnus and got 
a promise from him that if king Clothar should die at that time, 
Cautinus was to be cast out at once from the bishop's office and 
Cato was to be given control of the church. But he who despised 


the chair of the blessed Martin did not get what he desired, and in 
this was fulfilled that which David sang, saying: "He refused the 
blessing and it shall be kept far from him." He was puffed up 
with vanity thinking that no one was superior to him in holiness. 
Once he hired a woman to cry aloud in the church as if possessed 
and say that he was holy and great and beloved by God, but Cautinus 
the bishop was guilty of every crime and unworthy to hold the 
office of bishop. 

12. Now Cautinus on taking up the duties of bishop became 
greatly addicted to wine, and proved to be of such a character that 
he was loathed by all. He was often so befuddled by drink that 
four men could hardly take him away after dinner. Because of 
this habit he became an epileptic later on a disease which fre- 
quently showed itself in public. He was also so avaricious that if 
he could not get some part of the possessions of those whose boun- 
daries touched him he thought it was ruin for him. He took from 
the stronger with quarrels and abuse, and violently plundered the 
weaker. And as our Sollius 1 says, he would not pay the price 
because he despised doing so, and would not accept deeds because 
he thought them useless. 

There was at that time a priest Anastasius, of free birth, who 
held some property secured by deeds of queen Clotilda of glorious 
memory. Usually when he met him the bishop would entreat him 
to give him the deeds of the queen mentioned above, and place the 
property under his charge. And when Anastasius postponed 
complying with the will of his bishop, the latter would try now to 
coax him with kind words and now to terrify him with threats. 
When he continued unwilling to the end, he ordered him to be 
brought to the city and there shamelessly detained, and unless he 
surrendered the deeds, he was to be loaded with insults and starved 
to death. But the other made a spirited resistance and never 
surrendered the deeds, saying it was better for him to waste away 
with hunger for a time than to leave his children in misery. Then 
by the bishop's command he was given over to the guards with in- 
structions to starve him to death if he did not surrender these 
documents. Now there was in the church of St. Cassius the martyr 
a very old and remote crypt, in which was a great tomb of Parian 

1 Sidonius Apollinaris. 


marble wherein it seems the body of a certain man of long ago had 
been placed. In this tomb upon the dead body the living priest 
was placed and the tomb was covered with the stone with which 
it had been covered before, and guards were placed at the entrance. 
But the faithful guards seeing that he was shut in by a stone as it 
was winter lit a fire and under the influence of hot wine fell asleep. 
But the priest like a new Jonah prayed insistently to the Lord to 
pity him from the interior of the tomb as from the belly of hell, 
and the tomb being large, as we have said, he was able to extend 
his hands freely wherever he wished although he could not turn his 
whole body. There came from the bones of the dead, as he used to 
relate, a killing stench, which made him shudder not only outwardly 
but in his inward parts as well. While he held his robe tightly 
against his nose and could hold his breath his feelings were not the 
worst, but when he thought that he was suffocating and held the 
robe a little away from his face he drank in the deadly smell not 
merely through mouth and nose but even, so to speak, through his 
very ears. Why make too long a story ! When he had suffered, 
as I suppose, like the Divine Nature, he stretched out his right 
hand to the side of the sarcophagus and found a crowbar which 
had been left between the cover and the edge of the tomb when 
the cover sank into place. Moving this by degrees he found that 
with God's help the stone could be moved, and when it had been 
moved so far that the priest could get his head out he made a larger 
opening with greater ease and so came out bodily. Meanwhile 
the darkness of night was overspreading the day though it had not 
spread everywhere as yet. So he hastened to another entrance 
to the crypt. This was closed with the strongest bars and bolts, 
but was not so smoothly fittecL that a man could not see between the 
planks. The priest placed his head close to this entrance and saw 
a man go by. He called to him in a low voice. The other heard, 
and having an ax in his hand he at once cut the wooden pieces by 
which the bars were held and opened the way for the priest. And 
he went off in the darkness and hastened home after vigorously 
urging the man to say nothing of the matter to any one. He 
entered his home and finding the deeds which the queen mentioned 
before had given him took them to king Clothar, informing him at 
the same time how he had been committed to a living burial by 


his own bishop. All were amazed and said that never had Nero 
or Herod done such a deed as to place a live man in the grave. 
Then bishop Cautinus appeared before king Clothar but upon the 
priest's accusation he retreated in defeat and confusion. The 
priest, according to directions received from the king, maintained 
his property as he pleased and kept possession of it and left it to 
his children. In Cautinus there was no holiness, no quality to 
esteemed. He was absolutely without knowledge of letters both 
ecclesiastical and secular. He was a great friend of the Jews and 
subservient to them, not for their salvation, as ought to be the 
anxious care of a shepherd, but in order to purchase their wares 
which they sold to him at a higher price than they were worth, 
since he tried to please them and they very plainly flattered 

13. At this time Chramnus lived at Clermont. He did many 
things contrary to reason and for this his departure from the world 
was hastened; and he was bitterly reviled by the people. He 
made friends with no one from whom he could get good and useful 
counsel, but he gathered together young men of low character and no 
stability and made friends of them only, listening to their advice 
and at their suggestion he even directed them to carry off daughters 
of senators by force. He offered serious insults to Firmin and drove 
him out of his office as count of the city, and placed Salust son of 
Euvodius in his place. Firmin with his mother-in-law took refuge 
in the church. It was Lent and bishop Cautinus had made prep- 
arations to go in procession singing psalms to the parish of Brioude, 
according to the custom established by St. Gall as we described 
above. And so the bishop went forth from the city with loud 
weeping, afraid that he would meet some danger on the way. 
For king Chramnus had been uttering threats against him. And 
while he was on the way the king sent Innachar and Scaphthar 
his chief adherents, saying: "Go and drag Firmin and Caesaria 
his mother-in-law away from the church by force." So when the 
bishop had departed with psalm singing, as I have said before, the 
men sent by Chramnus entered the church and strove to calm the 
suspicions of Firmin and Caesaria with many deceitful words. And 
when they had talked over one thing after another for a long time, 
walking to and fro in the church, and the fugitives had their atten- 


tion fixed on what was being said, they drew near to the doors of 
the sacred temple which were then open. Then Innachar seized 
Firmin in his arms and Scaphthar Caesaria, and cast them out from 
the church, where their slaves were ready to lay hold of them. 
And they sent them into exile at once. But on the second day 
their guards were overcome with sleep and they saw that they were 
free and hastened to the church of the blessed Julian, and so es- 
caped from exile. However their property was confiscated. Now 
Cautinus had suspected that he himself would be subjected to 
outrage, and as he walked along on the journey I have told of, he 
kept near by a saddled horse, and looking back he saw men coming 
on horseback to overtake him and he cried : " Woe is me, for here 
are the men sent by Chramnus to seize me." And he mounted his 
horse and gave up his psalm singing and plying his steed with both 
heels arrived all alone and half dead at the entrance of Saint Julian's 
church. As I tell this tale I am reminded of Sallust's saying which 
he uttered with reference to the critics of historians. He says : 
"It seems difficult to write history; first because deeds must be 
exactly represented in words and second because most men think 
that the condemnation of wrong-doing is due to ill will and envy." 
However let us continue. 

14. Now when Clothar after Theodovald's death had received 
the kingdom of Francia and was making a progress through it, he 
heard from his people that the Saxons were engaged in a second 
mad outburst and were rebelling against him and contemptuously 
refusing to pay the tribute which they had been accustomed to 
pay every year. Aroused by the reports he hastened toward their 
country, and when he was near their boundary the Saxons sent 
legates to him saying: "We are not treating you contemptuously, 
and we do not refuse to pay what we have usually paid to your 
brothers and nephews, and we will grant even more if you ask for 
it. We ask for only one thing, that there be peace so that your 
army and our people shall not come into conflict." King Clothar 
heard this and said to his followers : "These men speak well.___Let 
us not go against them for fear that we sin against God." But 
they said : "We know that they are deceitful and will not do at 
all what they have promised. Let us gojigainst themZi Again 
th?Baxon^offered half of their propertyTrTtEeir desire for peace. 


And Clothar said to his men: "Give over, I beg you, from these 
men, lest the anger of God be kindled against us." But they 
would not agree to it. Again the Saxons brought garments, cattle 
and every kind of property, saying: "Take all this together with 
half of our land, only let our wives and little ones remain free and 
let war not arise between us." But the Franks were unwilling to 
agree even to this. And king Clothar said to them : " Give over, 
I beseech you, give over from this purpose; for we have not the 
right word ; do not go to war in which we may be destroyed. If 
you decide to go of your own will I will not follow." Then they 
were enraged at king Clothar and rushed upon him and tore his 
tent in pieces and overwhelmed him with abuse and dragged him 
about violently and wished to kill him if he would not go with 
them. Upon this Clothar went with them though unwillingly. 
And they began the battle and were slaughtered in great numbers 
by their adversaries and so great a multitude from both armies 
perished that it was impossible to estimate or count them. Then 
Clothar in great confusion asked for peace, saying that it was not 
of his own will that he had come against them. And having ob- 
tained peace he returned home. 

15. The people of Tours heard that the king had returned from 
the battle with the Saxons and making choice of the priest Eufronius 
they hastened to him. When their suggestion had been made the 
king replied: "I had given directions for Cato the priest to be 
ordained there; why has my command been slighted?" They 
answered: "We invited him but he refused to come." And while 
they were speaking Cato the priest suddenly appeared to request 
the king to expel Cautinus and command that he himself be ap- 
pointed in Clermont. When the king laughed at him he made aj 
second request, that he should be ordained at Tours which he had \ 
contemptuously refused before. And the king said to him: "I 1 , 
at first gave directions that they should ordain you bishop of Tours, 
but as I hear, you looked down on that church ; therefore you shall 
be kept from becoming master of it." And so he went off in con- 
fusion. When the king asked about the holy Eufronius they told 
him that he was grandson of the blessed Gregory, whom I have^ 
mentioned before. The king answered : "It is a great and leading 
family. Let the will of God and the blessed Martin be done ; let 


the choice be confirmed." And according to his command the holy 
Eufronius was ordained bishop, the eighteenth after the blessed 

[16. Chramnus, king Clothar's son, opposes bishop Cautinus 
at Clermont. He goes to Poitiers and enters into an agreement 
with his uncle Childebert against Clothar. He assumes authority 
over part of Clothar's realm and Clothar sends two other sons, 
Charibert and Gunthram, against him. When they are ready to 
fight Chramnus causes a report of Clothar's death to be circulated 
and Charibert and Gunthram hasten off; Chramnus marches to) 
Dijon where he consults the Bible as to his future. King Clothar 
meanwhile fights the Saxons. 17. Chramnus joins Childebert in 
Paris. Childebert ravages Clothar's territory as far as Rheims. 
18. Duke Austrapius takes refuge in St. Martin's church in fear 
of Chramnus. Chramnus orders him to be starved in the church. 
But he. obtains drink miraculously and is saved. He later becomes 
a priest. 19. Medard bishop of Soissons dies.] 

20. King Childebert fell ill and after being bedridden for a 
long time died at Paris. He was buried in the church of the blessed 
Vincent which he had built. King Clothar took his kingdom and 
treasures and sent into exile Vulthrogotha and her two daughters. 
Chramnus presented himself before his father, but later he proved 
disloyal. And when he saw he could not escape punishment he 
fled to Brittany and there with his wife and daughters lived in 
concealment with Chonoober count of the Bretons. And Wilichar, 
his father-in-law, fled to the church of Saint Martin. Then be- 
cause of Wilichar and his wife the holy church was burned for the 
sins of the people and the mockeries which occurred in it. This we 
relate not without a heavy sigh. Moreover the city of Tours had 
been burned the year before and all the churches built in it were 
deserted. Then by order of king Clothar the church of the blessed 
Martin was roofed with tin and restored in its former beauty. 
Then two hosts of locusts appeared which passed through Auvergne 
and Limousin and, they say, came to the plain of Romagnac where 
a battle took place between them and there was great destruction. 
Now king Clothar was raging against Chramnus and marched with 
his army into Brittany against him. Nor was Chramnus afraid 
to come out against his father. And when both armies were 


gathered and encamped on the same plain and Chramnus with the 
Bretons had marshaled his line against his father, night fell and 
they refrained from fighting. During the night Chonoober, count 
of the Bretons, said to Chramnus: "I think it wrong for you to 
fight against your father ; allow me to-night to rush upon him and 
destroy him with all his army." But Chramnus would not allow 
this to be done, being held back I think by the power of God. 
When morning came they set their armies in motion and hastened 
to the conflict. And king Clothar was marching like a new David 
to fight against Absalom his son, crying aloud and saying: "Look 
down, Lord, from heaven and judge my cause since I suffer wicked 
outrage from my son; look down, Lord, and judge justly, and 
give that judgment that thou once gavest between Absalom and 
his father." When they were fighting on equal terms the count 
of the Bretons fled and was slain. Then Chramnus started in 
flight, having ships in readiness at the shore; but in his wish to 
take his wife and daughters he was overwhelmed by his father's 
soldiers and was captured and bound fast. This news was taken 
to king Clothar and he gave orders to burn Chramnus with fire 
together with his wife and daughters. They were shut up in a hut 
belonging to a poor man and Chramnus was stretched on a bench 
and strangled with a towel; and later the hut was burned over 
them and he perished with his wife and daughters. 

21. In the fifty-first year of his reign king Clothar set out 
for the door of the blessed Martin with many gifts and coming to 
the tomb of the bishop just mentioned at Tours, and repeating all 
the deeds he had perhaps done heedlessly, and praying with loud 
groaning that the blessed confessor of God would obtain God's 
forgiveness for his faults and by his intercession blot out what he 
had done contrary to reason, he then returned, and in the fifty- 
first year of his reign, while hunting in the forest of Cuise, he was 
seized with a fever and returned thence to a villa in Compiegne 
There he was painfully harassed by the fever and said: "Alas! 
What do you think the king of heaven is like when he kills such 
great kings in this way?" Laboring under this pain he breathed 
his last, and his four sons carried him with great honor to Soissons 
and buried him in the church of St. Medard. He died the next 
day in the revolving year after Chramnus had been slain. 


[22. The four sons of Clothar make "a lawful division" of his 
kingdom. To Charibert is assigned Paris for his capital, to 
Gunthram, Orleans, to Chilperic, Soissons, to Sigibert, Rheims. 
23. The Huns attack Sigibert and Chilperic takes the opportunity 
to seize some of his cities. Sigibert recovers them.] 

24. When king Gunthram had taken his part of the realm like 
his brothers, he removed the patrician Agricola and gave the office 
of patrician to Celsus, a man of tall stature, strong shoulders, strong 
arms and boastful words, ready in retort and skilled in the law. 
And then such a greed for possessing came upon him that he often 
took the property of the churches and made it his own. Once 
when he heard a passage from the prophet Isaiah being read in 
the church, which says: "Woe to those who join house to house 
and unite field to field even to the boundaries of the place," he is 
said to have exclaimed : "It is out of place to say ; woe to me and 
my sons." But he left a son who died without children and left 
the greater part of his property to the churches which his father 
had plundered. 

25. The good king Gunthram first took a concubine Veneranda, 
a slave belonging to one of his people, by whom he had a son Gun- 
dobad. Later he married Marcatrude, daughter of Magnar, and 
sent his son Gundobad to Orleans. But after she had a son Mar- 
catrude was jealous, and proceeded to bring about Gundobad's 
death. She sent poison, they say, and poisoned his drink. And 
upon his death, byj^dlsjiidgme^it she lost the son she had and 
incurred the hate of the king, was dismissed by him, and died not 
long after. After her he took Austerchild, also named Bobilla. 
He had by her two sons, of whom the older was called Clothar and 
the younger Chlodomer. 

26. Moreover king Charibert married Ingoberga, by whom he 
had a daughter who afterwards married a husband in Kent and 
was taken there. At that time Ingoberga had in her service two 
daughters of a certain poor man, of whom the first was called 
Marcovefa, who wore the robe of a nun, and the other was Merofled. 
The king was very much in love with them. They were, as I have 
said, the daughters of a worker in wool. Ingoberga was jealous 
that they were loved by the king and secretly gave the father work 
to do, thinking that when the king saw this he would dislike his 


daughters. While he was working she called the king. He ex- 
pected to see something strange, but only saw this man at a distance 
weaving the king's wool. Upon this he was angry and left Ingoberga 
and married Merofled. He also had another, a daughter of a 
shepherd, named Theodogild, by whom he is said to have had a son 
who when he came from the womb was carried at once to the grave. 
In this king's time Leontius gathered the bishops of his province at 
the city of Saintes and deposed Emeri from the bishopric, saying 
that this honor had not been given him in accordance with the 
canons. For he had had a decree of king Clothar that he should 
be ordained without the consent of the metropolitan who was not 
present. When he had been expelled from his office they made 
choice of Heraclius, then a priest of the church of Bordeaux, and 
they sent word of these doings in their own handwriting by the 
priest just named to king Charibert. He came to Tours and re- 
lated to the blessed Eufronius what had been done, begging him to 
consent to subscribe to this choice. But the man of God flatly 
refused to do so. Now after the priest had come to the gates of 
the city of Paris and approached the king's presence he said:" 
"Hail, glorious king. The apostolic see sends to your eminence 
the most abundant greetings." But the king replied: "You 
haven't been at Rome, have you, to bring us the greeting of the 
pope?" "It is your father Leontius" the priest went on, "who, 
together with the bishops of his province, sends you greeting and 
informs you that Cymulus this was what they used to call 
Emeri as a child has been expelled from the episcopate because 
he neglected the sacred authority of the canons and sought actively 
for the office of bishop in the city of Saintes. And so they have 
sent you their choice in order that his place may be filled, so that 
when men who violate the canons are condemned according to 
rule, the authority of your kingdom will be extended into distant 
ages." When he said this the king gnashed his teeth and ordered 
him to be dragged from his sight, and placed on a wagon covered 
with thorns and thrust off into exile, saying : "Do you think that 
there is no one left of the sons of king Clothar to uphold his father's 
acts, since these men have cast out without our consent the bishop 
whom he chose?" And he at once sent men of religion and re- 
stored the bishop to his place, sending also certain of his officers of 


the treasury who exacted from bishop Leontius 1000 gold pieces 
and fined the other bishops up to the limit of their power of pay- 
ment. And snjjie. insnlt-io-Hip prinrp was avenged. After this 
he married Marcovefa, sister of Merofled. For which reason they 
were both excommunicated by the holy bishop Germanus. But 
since the king did not wish to leave her, she was struck by a judg- 
ment of God and died. Not long after the king himself died^- 
And after his death, Theodogild, one of his queens, sent messengers 
to king Gunthram offering herself in marriage to him. To which 
the king sent back this answer : "Let her not be slow to come to 
me with her treasures. For I will take her and make her great 
among the people, so that she will surely have greater honor with 
me than with my brother who has just died." And she was glad 
and gathered all together and set out to him. And the king seeing 
this said : "It is better for these treasures to be in my control than 
in the hands of this woman who has unworthily gone to my brother's 
bed." Then he took away much and left little, and sent her to a 
convent at Aries. But she took it very hard to be subject to fasts 
and watches, and made proposals to a Goth by secret messengers, 
promising that if he would take her to Spain and marry her she 
would leave the monastery with her treasures and follow him 
willingly. This promise he made without hesitation, but when 
she had got her things together and packed and was ready to go 
from the convent, the diligence of the abbess frustrated her purpose, 
and the wicked project was detected and orders were given to beat 
her severely and put her under guard. And she continued in 
confinement to the end of her life on earth, consumed with no 
slight passions. 

27. Now when king Sigibert saw that his brothers were taking 
wives unworthy of them, and to their disgrace were actually marry- 
ing slave women, he sent an embassy into Spain and with many 
gifts asked for Brunhilda, daughter of king Athanagild. She was 
a maiden beautiful in her person, lovely to look at, virtuous and 
well-behaved, with good sense and a pleasant address. Her father 
did not refuse, but sent her to the king I have named with great 
treasures. And the king collected his chief men, made ready a 
feast, and took her as his wife amid great joy and mirth. And 
though shejyaa.a follower of the Arian law she was converted by 


the preaching of the bishops and the admonition ol. the. kingjiim- 
self, and she confessed the blessed Trinity in unity, and believed 
and was baptized. And she still remains catholic in Christ's 

28. When Chilperic saw this, although he had already too 
many wives, he asked for her sister Galsuenda, promising through 
his ambassadors that he would abandon the others if he could only 
obtain a wife worthy of himself and the daughter of a king. Her 
father accepted these promises and sent his daughter with much 
wealth, as he had done before. Now Galsuenda was older than 
Brunhilda. And coming to king Chilperic she was received with 
great honor, and united to him in marriage, and she was also 
greatly loved by him. For she had brought great treasures. But 
because of his love of Fredegunda whom he had had before, there 
arose a great scandal which divided them. Galsuenda had already 
been converted to the catholic law and baptized. And complain- 
ing to the king that she was continually enduring outrages and had 
no honor with him, she asked to leave the treasures which she had 
brought with her and be permitted to go free to her native land. 
But he made ingenious pretences and calmed her with gentle 
words. At length he ordered her to be strangled by a slave and 
found her dead on the bed. After her death God caused a great 
miracle to appear. For the lighted lamp which hung by a rope 
in front of her tomb broke the rope without being to- by any- 
one and dashed upon the pavement and the h^ * ' yielded 
under it and it went down as if into SOP~ _u,nce and was 
buried to the middle but not at all .._*, 6 cd. Which seemed a 
great miracle to all who saw it. But when the king had mourned 
her deat f ew days, he married Fredegunda again. After this 
action L rs thought that the queen mentioned above had 
been kille irnrnand, and they tried to expel him from the 
kingdom. ^* at that time had three sons by his former 
wife Audovera, na^jly Theodobert, whom we have mentioned 
above, Merovech and Clovis. But let us return to our task. 

29. The Huns were again endeavoring to make an entrance 
into the Gauls. Sigibert marched against them with his army, 
leading a great number of brave men. And when they were about 
to fight, the Huns, who were versed in magic arts, caused false 


appearances of various sorts to come before them and defeated 
them decisively. Sigibert's army fled, but he himself was taken 
by the Huns and would have remained a prisoner if he had not 
overcome by his skill in making presents the men whom he could 
not conquer in battle. He was a man of fine appearance and good 
address. He gave gifts and entered into an agreement with their 
king that all the days of their lives they should fight no battles 
with one another. And this incident is rightly believed to be 
more to his credit than otherwise. The king of the Huns also gave 
many gifts to king Sigibert. He was called Gaganus. All the 
kings of that people are called by this name. 

[30. King Sigibert attempts to take Aries from his brother 
Gunthram but fails.] 

31. Now a great prodigy appeared in the Gauls at the town of 
Tauredunum, situated on the river Rhone. After a sort of rum- 
bling had continued for more than sixty days, the mountain was , i 
finally torn away and separated from another mountain near it, 
together with men, churches, property and houses, and fell into 
the river, and the banks of the river were blocked and the water 
flowed back. For that place was shut in on either side by moun- 
tains and the torrent flowed in a narrow way. It overflowed 
above and engulfed and destroyed all that was on the bank. Then 
the gathered water burst its way downstream and took men by 
surprise, as it had above, and caused a loss of life, overturned 
houses, destroyed beasts of burden, and overwhelmed with a sudden 
and violent flood all that was on the banks as far as the city of 
Geneva. It is told by many that the mass of water was so great 
that it went over the walls into the city mentioned. And there is 
no doubt of this tale because as we have said the Rhone flows in 
that region between mountains that hem it in closely, r jad being 
so closely shut in, it has no place to turn aside. It ca/ried away 
the fragments of the mountain that had fallen and thus caused it 
to disappear wholly. And after this thirty monks came to the 
place where the town fell in ruins and began to dig in the ground 
which remained when the mountain had fallen, trying to find 
bronze and iron. And while engaged in this they heard a rumbling 
of the mountain like the former one. And while they were kept 
there by their greed the part of the mountain which had not yet 


fallen fell on them and covered and destroyed them and none of 
them was found. In like manner too before the plague at Cler- 
mont great prodigies terrified that region. For three or four 
great shining places frequently appeared about the sun and the 
rustics used to rail them suns, saying : "Behold, three or four suns 
in the sky." On.,e on the first of Octr ,er the sun was so darkened 
that not a quarter of it continued bri^nt, but it looked hideous and 
discolored, about like a sack. Moreover a star which certain call 
a comet, with a ray like a sword, appeared over that country 
through a whole year, and the sky seemed to be on fire and many 
other signs were seen. In the church at Clermont while the morn- 
ing watches were being observed at a certain festival, a bird of the 
kind we call lark entered, flapping its wings above the lights, and 
so swiftly extinguished them all that one would think they had 
been taken by the hand of a single man and plunged into water. 
The bird passed under the veil into the sanctuary and attempted 
to put out the light there but it was prevented from doing so by 
the door-keepers and killed. In the church of the blessed Andrew 
another bird did the same with the lighted lamps. And presently 
the plague came, and such a carnage of the people took place 
through the whole district that the legions that fell could not be 
counted. For when sepulchers and grave-stones failed, ten or 
more would be buried in a single trench. Three hundred dead 
bodies were counted one Sunday in the church of the blessed 
Peter alone. Death was sudden. A wound the shape of a serpent 
would appear on groin or armpit and the man would be so over- 
come by the poison as to die on the second or third day. Moreover 
the power of the poison rendered the victim insensible. At that 
time Cato the priest died. For when many had fled from the 
plague he never left the place, but remained courageously burying 
the people and celebrating mass. He was a priest of_great kind- 
liness and a warm friend of the poor. And if he had some pride, 
this virtue I think counterbalanced it. But the bishop Cautinus, 
after running from place to place in fear of this plague, returned 
to the city, caught it and died on the day before Passion Sunday. 
At that very hour too, Tetradius his cousin died. At that time 
Lyons, Bourges, Cahors, and Dijon were seriously depopulated 
from this plague. 


[32. The remarkable virtue of the priest Julian. 33. The 
good abbot and the warning he received to be more severe with 
his monks.] 

34. I will relate what happened at that time in a certain mon- 
astery, but I do not wish to give the name of the monk, who is still 
alive, for fear that when this account comes to him he may become 
vainglorious and lose merit. A young man came to the monastery 
and presented himself to the abbot with. the proposal to pass his 
life in God's service. The abbot made many objections, explain- 
ing that the service there was hard, and he could never accomplish 
what was required of him. But he promised that he would call 
on the Lord's name and accomplish it all. And so he was admitted 
by the abbot. After a few days during which he proved to all 
that he was humble and holy, it happened that the monks threw 
out of the granary about three chori of grain and left it to dry in 
the sun and appointed this monk to guard it. And while the 
others were taking refreshment and he was left to guard the grain, 
the sky suddenly became overcast, and a heavy rain with roaring 
wind came swiftly in the direction of the heap of grain. Upon 
seeing it the monk knew not how to act or what to do. He thought 
however that even if he called the rest considering the great quantity 
of grain they would not be able to store it in the granary before the 
rain, and so giving up everything else he devoted himself to prayer, 
beseeching the Lord not to allow a drop of the rain to fall on the 
wheat. And when he threw himself on the ground and prayed, 
the cloud was divided, and although there was a heavy downpour 
all around, if it is right to say so, it did not dampen a single grain of 
the wheat. And when the other monks and the abbot became 
aware of the coming storm they came quickly to take' the grain 
within, and saw this miracle, and looking for the man in charge 
of the grain they found him close by stretched out on the sand 
praying. The abbot on seeing this prostrated himself close to 
him, and when the rain had passed and the prayer was finished he 
called to him to arise, and gave orders to seize him and punish him 
with stripes, saying: "My son, you must grow in the fear and 
service of God with humility, and not be puffed up with prodigies 
and miracles." He ordered him to remain shut up in his cell 
sev^n_daj^_aiidto fast as if he were at fault, in order to keep 


vainglory from forming an obstacle before him. At the present 
time, as we learn from men of the faith, the same monk is so ab- 
stemious that he eats no bread in the forty days of Lent and drinks 
only a cup of barley-water every third day. And may the Lord 
with yoiir^prayers__deign J:o L^eejD Jaim _ as is pleasing, taidmsell until 
his life is ended. 

--[35. The priest Eufrasius and the archdeacon Avitus are 
candidates for the bishopric of Auvergne. The former Gregory 
describes in these words: "He was indeed a man of refined man- 
ners, but his acts were not virtuous and he often made the bar- 
barians drunk and rarely helped the needy." 36. Nicetius suc- 

ceeds Sacerdos as bishop of Lyons. He is succeeded in turn by 
the wicked Priscus. 37. Death of the holy Friard. 38. Leuva 
and Leuvield, kings of Spain. The latter slew "all who had been 
accustomed to kill the kings." 39. Palladius and Parthenius, 
respectively count and bishop of Gevaudan, quarrel. Palladius ] 

accuses the bishop of unnatural crime ; he is removed and Ro- 
manus becomes count.] 

39. ... It happened that one day Palladius and Romanus met 
in Clermont, and in their dispute about the office of count Palladius 
was told that he was going to be put to death by king Sigibert. 
However the story was false, and was ascertained to have been 
put in circulation principally by Romanus. Then Palladius was 
terrified and reduced to such despair that he threatened to kill 
himself with his own hand. And although he was carefully watched 
by his mother and his kinsman Firmin, to prevent the deed which 
he had conceived in the bitterness of his heart, he escaped from his 
mother's sight for a short time and went into his chamber where 
he could be alone, unsheathed his sword, and putting his feet on 
the crosshilt of the sword he put its point at his breast and pushed 
on the sword from above, and it entered at one of his breasts and 
came out at the shoulder-blade, and raising himself up a second 
time he thrust himself in like manner in the other breast and fell 
dead. I regard this deed with astonishment since it could not 
have been done without the help of the devil. For the first wound 
would have killed him if the devil had not supported him so that 
he could accomplish his wicked purpose. His mother rushed in 
half dead with alarm, and fell in a faint on the body of the son she 


had lost, and the whole household uttered cries of lamentation. 
Nevertheless he was carried to the monastery of Cournon and 
buried there, but without being placed near the bodies of Chris- 
tians or receiving the solemn service of the mass. And this evi- 
dently happened to him for nothing else than his insulr^Eo~~the 

[40. Justin, a man of many vices, succeeds the emperor Justin- 
ian. He associates with himself Tiberius "who was just, chari- 
table, a discerner of the right and winner of victories and a 
feature that surpasses all other excellences a most orthodox 

41. Albin, king of the Lombards, who had married Chlotsinda, 
daughter of king Clothar, abandoned his country and set out for 
Italy with all the Lombard people. They put their army in motion 
and went with their wives and children, purposing to remain 
there. They entered the country and spent seven years chiefly 
in wandering through it, despoiling the churches, killing the bishops, 
and bringing the land under their control. When his wife Chlot- 
sinda died, Albin married another wife whose father he had killed 
a short time before. For this reason the woman always hated 
her husband and awaited an opportunity to avenge the wrong 
done her father, and so it happened that she fell in love with one 
of the household slaves and poisoned her husband. When he 
died she went off with the slave but they were overtaken and put 
to death together. Then the Lombards chose another king over 

42. Eunius, who was also named Mummulus, was made patri- 
cian by king Gunthram. I think that certain details should be 
given as to the beginning of his military service. He was a son of 
Peonius and native of the city of Auxerre. Peonius governed this 
town as count. And when he had sent gifts to the king by his son 
to secure reappointment, the son gave his father's presents and 
asked for his father's office, and took his place when he should 
have helped him. From this start he gradually rose and attained 
a greater prominence. And upon the invasion of the Gauls by the 
Lombards the patrician Amatus, who had lately succeeded Celsus, 
went against them and engaged in battle, but was defeated and 
slain. And it is said that the slaughter of the Burgundians by the 


Lombards was so great on that occasion that the slain could not be 
f counted. And the Lombards loaded with plunder departed again 
for Italy. And upon their departure Eunius, also named Mum- 
mulus, was summoned by the king and raised to the high office of 
patrician. When the Lombards made a second inroad into the 
Gauls and came as far as Mustia Calmes near the city of Embrun, 
Mummulus set his army in motion and came to that place with the 
Burgundians. He surrounded the Lombards with his army and 
made an abattis and attacked them in pathless woods, and killing 
many took a number of captives whom he sent to the king. The 
king ordered them to be kept under guard in various places through 
the country, but a few in one way or another escaped and took the 
news to their native land. There were present in this battle 
^Salonius and Sagittarius, brothers and bishops, who armed them- 
selves not with the cross of heaven but with the worldly helmet and 
coat of mail, and, what is worse, are reported to have killed many 
with their own hands. This was Mummulus' first victory. Then 
the Saxons, who had entered Italy with the Lombards, made a 
second expedition into the Gauls, and pitched camp in the territory 
of Riez, that is, near the village of Estoublon, scattering from 
there among the villages belonging to neighboring cities, taking 
booty, leading off captives and laying all waste. When Mummolus 
learned of this he set his army in motion and attacked them, killing 
many thousands, and he did not cease to cut them down until 
evening when night made an end. For he had taken them off 
their guard when they expected nothing of what happened. In 
the morning the Saxons marshaled their army and made ready for 
battle, but messengers passed from one army to the other and 
they made peace. They gave presents to Mummolus, and sur- 
rendered all the plunder of the region with the captives, and de- 
parted after taking oath that they would return to the Gauls in 
obedience to the kings and as allies to the Franks. And so the 
Saxons returned to Italy, and taking their wives and little ones and 
all their possessions undertook the return journey into the Gauls 
with the intention of presenting themselves to king Sigibert and 
establishing themselves again in the district which they had left. 
They formed two wedges [cunios\ as they call them ; and one came 
by way of Nice and the other by Embrun, keeping in fact to the 


road they had come the previous year, and the two divisions united 
in the territory of Avignon. It was then harvest time, and that 
country had its crops chiefly in the open fields and the inhabitants 
had not stored any of them. When the Saxons came they divided 
the crops among them and gathered and threshed the grain and 
used it, leaving nothing to those who had done the work. But 
after the harvest had been used up and they came to the shore of 
the river Rhone in order to cross the torrent and present themselves 
in the kingdom of king Sigibert, Mummolus met them and said : 
"You shall not cross this torrent. Behold, you have devastated 
the land of my lord the king, you have gathered the crops, plun- 
dered the herds, burned the houses, cut down the olive groves and 
vineyards. You shall not go up unless you first satisfy those 
whom you have left in want; otherwise you shall not escape my 
hands, but I shall draw my sword against you and your wives and 
little ones and avenge the wrong done to my lord king Gunthram." 
Then they were very much afraid and gave many thousand pieces 
of coined gold as a ransom, and were allowed to cross, and thus 
they came to Clermont. It was then springtime. They broughtx 
there pieces of bronze engraved like gold, and any one seeing \ 
them would have no doubt that it was gold tested and weighed; 
for it was colored by some device or other. And a good many 
were deceived by the false appearance and gave gold and received 
bronze and became poor. And they went on to king Sigibert and 
were settled in the land they had left. 

[43. Albinus, governor of Provence, seizes archdeacon Vir-** 
gilius on Christmas day in the church for failing to punish his 
men; Albinus is fined. 44. Three Lombard chiefs invade Gaul 
but are defeated and driven back into Italy by Mummolus. 45. 
Mummolus recovers Tours and Poitiers for Sigibert from Chilperic.] 

46. As I am about to speak of the death of Andarchius, it 
seems best to tell first of his birth and native place. He was a 
slave of the senator Felix as they say, and being assigned to attend 
his young master he entered with him upon the study of letters 
and became distinguished for his learning. For he was fully 
instructed in the works of Virgil, the books of the Theodosian law, 
and the art of calculation. Being puffed up with such knowledge 
he began to hold his masters in contempt, and devoted himself to 


the service of duke Lupus when he went to the city of Marseilles 
by order of king Sigibert. When Lupus left Marseilles he told 
Andarchius to go with him and secured for him the favor of king 
Sigibert and put him at his service. And Sigibert sent him to 
various places and gave him an opportunity for military service. 
Being held in a sort of honor because of this he came to Clermont 
and there entered into friendship with Ursus, a citizen of the city. 
Then being of an ambitious temper he wished to be betrothed to 
Ursus' daughter, and concealed a coat of mail, as they tell, in a 
chest in which documents used to be kept, and said to Ursus' 
wife: "I give in your care a multitude of gold pieces, more than 
sixteen thousand, which I have placed in this chest, and it shall be 
yours if you will cause your daughter to be betrothed to me." 
"To what do you not drive the hearts of men, accursed greed for 
gold?" The woman believed him without reserve and in her 
husband's absence agreed to betroth the girl to him. He went 
back to the king and brought an order to the judge of the place 
commanding him to marry this girl, saying: "I paid the earnest 
money at the betrothal." But Ursus denied it saying: "I do not 
know who you are and I have none of your property." When the 
quarrel continued and grew hotter Andarchius had Ursus sum- 
moned to the presence of the king. And coming to the village of 
Braine he found another man named Ursus whom he caused to be 
taken secretly to the altar and to swear and say: "By this holy 
place and the relics of the blessed martyrs I will not delay in paying 
you the sixteen thousand solidi, since I am not to give my daughter 
in marriage to you." Now witnesses were standing in the sanctuary 
listening secretly to what was said but not seeing the person who 
spoke. Then Andarchius soothed Ursus with gentle words and 
caused him to return to his native place without seeing the king. 
After this he made an oath and when Ursus went away he produced 
before the king a document containing the oath and said: "Such 
and such is the writing I have from Ursus, and therefore I request 
an order from your glory that he give his daughter to me in mar- 
riage. Otherwise let me have authority to take his possessions 
until I receive sixteen thousand solidi and am satisfied in this case." 
Then he received the order and returned to Clermont and showed 
the judge the king's order. Ursus retired into the territory of 


Velay. And when his property .was turned over to Andarchius he 
also went to Velay, and going into one of Ursus' houses he bade 
them prepare supper for him and heat water for bathing. And 
when the slaves of the household did not obey their new master, 
he beat some with clubs, others with switches, and struck some on 
the head, drawing blood. The whole household was in confusion 
but the supper was prepared; he bathed in hot water, became 
drunk with wine and stretched himself on his couch. He had 
only seven slaves with him. And when they were sound asleep, 
weighed down by drowsiness not less than by wine, the household 
was gathered together, and Ursus closed the doors of the house 
which were made of wooden boards. He took the keys and tore 
down the stacks of grain near by and heaped piles of the grain 
which was then in the sheaf around and above the house until it 
was seen that the house was entirely covered. Then he set fire to 
it in different places and when the burning timbers of the building 
were falling on the luckless ones they awoke and began to shout 
but there was no one to listen to them and the whole house was 
burned and the fire consumed all alike. Ursus fled in fear to the 
church of St. Julian, and after making presents to the king he 
received again a good title to his property. 

[47. Civil war between Chilperic and Sigibert. " There was at 
that time a worse outcry among the churches than in the time of 
Diocletian's persecution." 48. The wickedness of the people of 
Gaul as compared with earlier times ; the plundering of the mon- 
astery of Latta. 49. The civil war is continued. Sigibert forces 
Chilperic to restore his cities. 50. Chilperic shuts himself up in 

51. In that year lightning was seen to traverse the sky as once 
we saw before the death of Clothar. Now Sigibert took the cities 
this side of Paris and marched as far as Rouen, wishing to destroy 
these same cities with his army. But he was prevented from doing 
so by his own people. He returned thence and entered Paris. 
And there Brunhilda came to him with her children. Then the 
Franks who had once looked to the older Childebert, sent an em- 
bassy to Sigibert that if he would come to them they would abandon 
Chilperic and make him king over them. On hearing this he sent 
men to besiege his brother in the city mentioned above, and he 


himself purposed to hasten thither. And the holy bishop Ger- 
' A to him: "If you go and do not purpose to kill your 
you shall return alive and victorious ; but if you have an- 
oiner purpose in mind you shall die. For thus said the Lord through 
Solomon : 'You who prepare a pit for your brother shall fall into 
it." : But because of his wickedness he failed to pay heed. And 
when he came to the village named Vitry, all the army was gathered 
about him, and they placed him on a shield and made him king 
over them. Then two slaves who had been placed under a charm 
by Queen Fredegunda, carrying strong knives with poisoned blades 
- of the sort commonly called scramasaxi approached him on 
some pretext and stabbed him one on each side. He cried aloud 
and fell and died in a short time. At the same time Charigysel, 
his chamberlain, was slain and Sigila who came from the land of 
the Goths was seriously wounded. He was afterwards seized by 
King Chilperic and met a cruel death, every joint being burned 
with white-hot irons and his limbs being torn one from the other. 
Charigysel was both fickle and avaricious. He had risen from a 
lowly place and become great with the king by flattery. He was 
a man who grasped other men's property, and was a breaker of 
wills, and the end of his life was such that he did not succeed in 
making his own will when death threatened, he who had so often 
destroyed the wills of others. 

Chilperic was in suspense and did not know whether he should 
escape or perish, when messengers came to him to tell of his brother's 
death. Then he left Tournai with his wife and children and clothed 
Sigibert and buried him in the village of Lambres. Whence he was 
later transferred to Soissons to the church of the holy Medard 
which he had built, and was buried there by the side of his father 
Clothar. He died in the fourteenth year of his reign, the fortieth 
of his life. From the death of Theodobert the elder to that of 
Sigibert twenty-nine years are included, and there were eighteen 
days between his death and that of his nephew Theodobert. Upon 
the death of Sigibert, Childebert his son reigned in his place. 

From the beginning to the flood there were 2242 years; from 
the flood to Abraham 942 years ; from Abraham to the going out of 
the children of Israel from Egypt 462 years ; from the going of the 
children of Israel from Egypt to the building of the temple of Solo- 


mon 480 years ; from the building of the temple to its desolation 
and the migration to Babylon 390 years ; from the migration to 
the passion of the Lord 668 years ; from the passion of the Lord 
to the death of St. Martin 412 years ; from the death of St. Martin 
to the death of King Clovis 112 years; from the death of King 
Clovis to the death of Theodobert 37 years; from the death of 
Theodobert to the death of Sigibert 29 years. Which make a 
^otal of 5774 years. 



1. The rule of the younger Childebert ; his mother. 

2. Merovech marries Brunhilda. 

3. War with Chilperic ; Rauching's wickedness. 

4. Roccolenus comes to Tours. 

5. The bishops of Langres. 

6. Leonastis, archdeacon of Bourges. 

7. The recluse Senoch. 

8. The holy Germanus, bishop of Paris. 

9. The recluse Caluppa. 

10. The recluse Patroclus. 

1 1 . Conversion of Jews by bishop Avitus. -_ 

12. The abbot Brachio. 

13. Mummulus devastates Limoges. 

14. Merovech after receiving the tonsure flees to St. Martin's church. 

15. War between the Saxons and Suevi. 

16. Death of Macliavus. 

7. The uncertainty about Easter ; the church at Chinon ; how king Gunthram 
killed Magnachar's sons and lost his own and then allied himself with 

1 8. Bishop Praetextatus and Merovech's death. 

19. Tiberius's charities. 

20. Bishops Salunius and Sagittarius. 

21. The Breton Winnoc. 

22. Death of Samson, Chilperic's son. 

23. Prodigies that appeared. 

24. Gunthram Boso takes his daughters from the church of the holy Hilarius 

and Chilperic attacks Poitiers. 

25. Death of Dacco and of Dracolinus. 

26. The army marches against the Bretons. 

27. Salunius and Sagittarius are degraded. 

28. Chilperic's taxes. 

29. The ravaging of Brittany. 

30. The rule of Tiberius. 

31. The attacks of the Bretons. 

32. Sacrilege done in the church of St. Denis because of a woman. 

33. Prodigies. 



34. Dysentery and the death of Chilperic's sons. 

35. Queen Austrechild. 

36. Bishop Eraclius and Count Nanthinus. 

37. Martin, bishop of Galicia. 

38. Persecution of the Christians in the Spains. 

39. Clevis's death. 

40. Bishops Elafius and Eunius. 

41. Legates from Galicia and prodigies. 

42. Maurilio, bishop of Cahors. 

43. Dispute with a heretic. 

44. Chilperic's writings. 

45. Death of bishop Agricola. 

46. Death of bishop Dalmatius. 

47. Eunomius becomes count. 

48. Leudast's wickedness. 

49. The plots he formed against us and how he was himself brought low. 

50. Prediction of the blessed Salvius about Chilperic. 



I am weary of relating the details of the civil wars that mightily 
plague the nation and kingdom of the Franks ; and the worst of 
it is that we see in them the beginning of that time of woe which 
the Lord foretold: " Father shall rise against son, son against 
father, brother against brother, kinsman against kinsman." 
They should have been deterred by the examples of former kings 
who were slain by their enemies as soon as they were divided. How 
often has the very city of cities, the great capital of the whole earth, 
been laid low by civil war and again, when it ceased, has risen as 
if from the ground ! Would that you too, O kings, were engaged in 
battles like those in which your fathers struggled, that the heathen 
terrified by your union might be crushed by your strength ! Re- 
member how Clovis won your great victories, how he slew opposing 
kings, crushed wicked peoples and subdued their lands, and left 
to you complete and unchallenged dominion over them ! And 
when he did this he had neither silver nor gold such as you now have 
in your treasuries. What is your object ? What do you seek after ? 
What have you not in plenty? In your homes there are luxuries 
in abundance, in your storehouses wine, grain and oil abound, gold 
and silver are piled up in your treasuries. One thing you lack: 
without peace you have not the grace of God. Why does one take 
from another? Why does one desire what another has? I beg 
of you, beware of this saying of the apostle: "But if ye bite and 
devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of 
another." Examine carefully the books of the ancients and you 
will see what civil wars beget. Read what Orosius writes of the 
Carthaginians, who says that after seven hundred years their city 
and country were ruined and adds: "What preserved this city 
so long? Union. What destroyed it after such a period? Dis- 



union." Beware of disunion, beware of civil wars which destroy 
you and your people. What else is to be expected but that your 
army will fall and that you will be left without strength and be 
crushed and ruined by hostile peoples. And, king, if civil war 
2jives you pleasure, govern that impulse which the apostle says 
is urgent within man, let the spirit struggle against the flesh and 
the vices fall before the virtues ; and be free and serve your chief 
who is Christ, you who were once a fettered slave of the root of 

[i. Sigibert's son, Childebert, not yet five years old, is made 
king. Chilperic seizes Brunhilda and keeps her in exile at Rouen.] 

2. Chilperic sent his son Merovech to Poitiers with an army. 
But he disobeyed his father's orders and came to Tours and spent 
there the holy days of Easter. His army did great damage to that 
district. Merovech himself in pretence that he wanted to go to see 
his mother went to Rouen and there met queen Brunhilda and 
married her. Upon news of this Chilperic became very bitter be- 
cause Merovech had married his uncle's widow contrary to divine law 
and the canons, and quicker than speech he hastened to the above 
mentioned city. But when they learned that he was determined 
to separate them they took refuge in the church of St. Martin that 
is built of boards upon the wall of the city. But when the king 
on his arrival strove to entice them thence by many artifices and 
they refused to trust him, thinking that he was acting treacherously, 
he took oath to them, saying : "If it was the will of God, he him- 
self would not attempt to separate them." They accepted this 
oath and came out of the church and Chilperic kissed them and 
gave them a fitting welcome and feasted with them. But after a 
few days he returned to Soissons, taking Merovech with him. 

[3. Godin makes an attack on Chilperic's territory but is de- 
feated. Chilperic suspects Merovech of being involved in the at- 
tack. Godin's wife after his death marries a notorious character, 

3. ... Godin's wife married Rauching, a man full of every 
vanity, swollen with haughtiness, wanton with pride, who treated 
those under him in such a way that one could not perceive that he 
had any human feeling in him, and he vented his rage on his own 
people beyond the limits of human wickedness and folly and com- 


mi t ted unspeakable wrongs. For whenever a slave held a candle 
for him at dinner, as the custom is, he would make him bare his 
legs and hold the candle against them until it went out ; when it 
was lighted he would do the same thing again until the legs of the 
slave who held the candle were burned all over. And if he uttered 
a cry or tried to move from that place to another a naked sword 
at once threatened him, and when he wept Rauching could scarcely 
contain himself for delight. Certain ones tell the story that two 
of his slaves at that time loved one another, namely, a man and 
and a maid a thing that often happens. And when this love 
had lasted a space of two years or more, they were united together 
and took refuge in the church. When Rauching found it out 
he went to the bishop of the place and demanded that his slaves 
be returned to him at once, and said they would not be punished. 
Then the bishop said to him: "You know what respect should 
be paid to the churches of God ; you cannot take them unless you 
give a pledge of their permanent union, and likewise proclaim that 
they shall remain free from every bodily punishment." When he 
had continued silent for a long time in doubtful thought, he finally 
turned to the bishop and placed his hands on the altar and swore, 
saying : "They shall never be parted by me but I will rather cause 
them to continue in this union permanently, because although it 
is annoying to me that this was done without my consent, still I 
welcome this feature of it, that he has not married a maid belonging 
to another nor she another's slave.' 7 The bishop in a simple-hearted 
way believed the crafty fellow's promise and restored the slaves 
under the promise that they would not be punished. Rauching 
took them and thanking the bishop went home. He at once 
directed a tree to be cut down and the trunk cut off close to the 
branches and split with wedges and hollowed out. He ordered the 
earth to be dug to a depth of three or four feet and half the trunk 
put in the trench. Then he placed the maid there as if she were 
dead and ordered them to throw the man in on top. And he put 
the covering on and filled the trench and buried them alive, saying : 
"I have not broken my oath that they should never be separated." 
When this was reported to the bishop he ran swiftly, and fiercely 
rebuking the man he finally succeeded in having them uncovered. 
However it was only the man who was alive when dragged out; 


he found the girl suffocated. In such actions Rauching showed 
himself very wicked, having no other aptitude except in loud laugh- 
ter and trickery and every perversity. Therefore he justly met a 
fitting death, since he so behaved himself when he enjoyed this 
life ; but I shall tell of this later. . . . 

4. In these days Roccolenus being sent by Chilperic came to 
Tours with great boasting and pitching camp beyond the Loire 
he sent messengers to us that we ought to drag from the holy church 
Gunthram, who was at that time wanted for the death of Theodo- 
bert ; if we would not do it he would give orders to burn the city 
with fire and all its suburbs. On hearing this we sent messengers 
to him saying that what he asked to have done had not been done 
from ancient time ; moreover the holy church could not now be 
violated ; if it should be, it would not be well for him or for the king 
who had given this command ; let him rather stand in awe of the 
holiness of the bishop whose power only the day before had given 
strength to paralytic limbs. But he had no fear of such words 
and while he was dwelling in a house belonging to the church beyond 
the river Loire he tore down the house itself which had been built 
with nails. The people of Mans who had come on that occasion 
with him carried the nails off, filling their bags, and they destroyed 
the grain and laid everything waste. But while Roccolenus was 
engaged on this he was struck by God, and becoming saffron color 
from the royal disease he sent harsh commands saying: " Unless 
you cast duke Gunthram out of the church to-day I will destroy 
every green thing around the city so that the country will be ready 
for the plow. 1 Meantime the sacred day of Epiphany came and 
he began to be in greater and greater torture. Then after taking 
counsel with his people he crossed the river and approached the 
city. And when [the clergy] were hastening from the cathedral 
to the holy church singing psalms, he rode on horseback behind 
the cross, preceded by his standards. But when he entered the 
holy church his rage and threats cooled and going back to the cathe- 
dral he could take no food on that day. Then being very short of 
breath he departed for Poitiers. Now these were the days of 
holy Lent during which he often ate young rabbits. And after 
setting for the first of March the actions by which he meant to ruin 
1 Cf. ad aratrum reducere, to ravage thoroughly. 


and fine the citizens of Poitiers, he rendered up his life on the pre- 
ceding day ; and so his pride and insolence ceased. 

5. At that time Felix, bishop of Nantes, wrote me a letter full 
of insults, writing also that my brother had been slain because he 
had killed a bishop, being himself greedy for the bishopric. But 
the reason Felix wrote this was because he wanted an estate belong- 
ing to the church. And when I would not give it he was full of 
rage and vented on me, as I have said, a thousand insults. I 
finally replied to him: " Remember the words of the prophet: 
'Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field ! 
They are not going to inhabit the earth alone, are they ? ' I wish 
you had been bishop of Marseilles ! For ships would never have 
brought oil or other goods there, but only paper that you might 
have greater opportunity for writing to defame honest men. It is 
the scarcity of paper that sets a limit to your wordiness." He was 
a man of unlimited greed and boastfulness. Now I shall pass over 
these matters, not to appear like him, and merely tell how my 
brother passed from the light of day and how swift a vengeance the 
Lord visited upon his assassin. The blessed Tetricus, 1 bishop of 
the church of Langres, who was already growing old, expelled the 
deacon Lampadio from his place as procurator, and my brother 
in his desire to aid the poor men whom Lampadio had wickedly 
despoiled, joined in bringing about his humiliation and thus in- 
curred his hatred. Meantime the blessed Tetricus had an apoplec- 
tic stroke. And when the poultices of the doctors did him no good, 
the clergy were disquieted, and seeing they were bereft of their 
shepherd they asked for Monderic. The king granted their re- 
quest and he was given the tonsure and ordained bishop with the 
understanding that while the blessed Tetricus lived he should govern 
the town of Tonnerre as archpriest and dwell there, and when his 
predecessor died he should succeed him. But while he lived in 
the town he incurred the king's anger. For it was charged against 
him that he had furnished supplies and made gifts to king Sigibert 
when he was marching against his brother Gunthram. And so 
he was dragged from the town and thrust off into exile on the 
bank of the Rhone in a certain tower that was very small and 
had lost its roof. Here he lived for nearly two years to his great 

1 Great-uncle of Gregory on his mother's side. 


hurt, and then through the intercession of the blessed bishop 
Nicetius he returned to Lyons and dwelt with him for two months. 
But since he could not prevail on the king to restore him to the 
place from which he had been expelled he fled in the night and passed 
over to Sigibert's kingdom and was made bishop of the village of 
Arisitum with fifteen parishes more or less under him. These 
the Goths had held at first, and now Dalmatius, bishop of Rodez, 
judges them. When he went away the people of Langres again re- 
quested as bishop, Silvester, a kinsman of ours and of the blessed 
Tetricus. Now they asked for him at the instigation of my brother. 
Meantime the blessed Tetricus passed away and Silvester received 
the tonsure and was ordained priest and took the whole authority 
over the property of the church. And he made preparations to go 
and receive the blessing of the bishops at Lyons. While this was 
going on he was stricken by an attack of epilepsy, having been long 
a victim of the disease, and being more cruelly bereft of his senses 
than before he kept continually uttering a moaning cry for two 
days and on the third day breathed his last. After this Lampadius, 
who had lost his position and his means as is described above, united 
with Silvester's son in hatred of Peter the deacon, plotting and 
asserting that his father had been killed by Peter's evil arts. Now 
the son being young and light-minded was aroused against him, 
accusing him in public of murder. Upon hearing this Peter carried 
his case before the holy bishop Nicetius, my mother's uncle, and 
went to Lyons and there in the presence of bishop Siagrius and many 
other bishops as well as secular princes he cleared himself by oath 
of ever having had any part in Silvester's death. But two years 
later, being urged to it again by Lampadius, Silvester's son followed 
Peter the deacon on the road and killed him with a lance wound. 
When the deed was done Peter was taken from that place and car- 
ried to the town of Dijon and buried beside the holy Gregory, our 
great-grandfather. But Silvester's son fled and passed over to 
king Chilperic, leaving his property to the treasury of king Gun- 
thram. And when he was wandering through distant parts be- 
c~u^ of the crime he had committed, and there was no safe place 
for him 1 r dwell in, at length, I suppose, innocent blood called upon 
the divine power against him and when he was traveling in a cer- 
tain place he drew his sword and slew a man who had done him no 


harm. And the man's kinsmen, filled with grief at the death ot 
their relative, roused the people, and drawing their swords they 
cut him in pieces and scattered him limb by limb. Such a fate 
did the wretch meet by God's just judgment, so that he who slew 
an innocent kinsman should not himself live longer in guilt. Now 
this happened to him in the third year. 

After Silvester's death the people of Langres again demanded 
a bishop, and received Pappolus who had once been archdeacon 
at Autun. According to report he did many wicked deeds, which 
are omitted by us that we may not seem to be disparagers of our 
brethren. However, I shall not fail to mention what his end was. 
In the eighth year of his episcopate, while he was making the round 
of the parishes and domains of the church, one night as he slept 
the blessed Tetricus appeared to him with threatening face and said : 
"What are you doing here, Pappolus? Why do you pollute my 
see ? Why do you invade my church ? Why do you so scatter the 
flock that was put in my charge ? Yield your place, leave the see, 
go far from this territory." And so speaking he struck the rod he 
had in his hand sharply against Pappolus' breast. Upon this 
Pappolus woke up and while he was thinking what this meant a 
sharp pang darted in that place and he was tortured with the keen- 
est pain. He loathed food and drink and awaited the approach of 
death. Why more? He died on the third day with a rush of 
blood from the mouth. Then he was carried forth and buried at 
Langres. In his place the abbot Mummolus, called also Bonus, 
was made bishop. To him many give great praise : that he is 
chaste, sober, moderate, very ready for every goodness, a friend 
of justice and a zealous lover of charity. When he took the bish- 
opric he perceived that Lampadius had taken much of the church 
property by fraud, and by spoiling the poor had gathered lands, 
vineyards and slaves, and he ordered him to be stripped of all and 
driven out from his presence. He now lives in the greatest want 
and gets his living by his own hands. Let this be enough on these 

6. In the same year as that mentioned above, that is, the year 
in which Sigibert died and Childebert his son began to reign, many 
miracles were done at the tomb of the blessed Martin which I 
have described in the books I have attempted to compose about 


these miracles. And though my speech is unpolished I have still 
not allowed the things that I saw with my own eyes or learned 
from trustworthy persons to pass unknown. Here I shall relate 
merely what happens to the heedless who after a miracle from 
heaven have sought for earthly cures, because his power is shown 
in the ~ ^shment-of fools just as much as in the gracious working 
of cures. Leonastis, archdeacon of Bourges, lost his sight through 
cataracts that grew over his eyes. And when he altogether failed 
to recover it by going around among many physicians, he came to 
the church of St. Martin and remaining here for two or three months 
and fasting continuously he prayed to recover his sight. And when 
the festival came his eyes brightened and he began to see. He 
returned home and summoned a certain Jew and applied cupping 
glasses to his shoulders by the help of which he was to increase his 
eyesight. But as the blood flowed his blindness revived again. 
When this happened he again returned to the holy temple. And 
remaining there again a long time he did not succeed in recovering 
his sight. Whichj^ think was refused because of his sin, according 
to the words of the Lord: "For whosoever hath, to him shall be 
given, and he shall have abundance ; but whosoever hath not, from 
him shall be taken away even that whjrh he hah."_ ""RpholH t.hnii 
jirj^made whole; sin no more lest a worse thing befall thee." For \ 
he would have continued in health if he had not brought in the Jew 
in addition to the divine miracle. For such is the warning and 
reproof of the apostle, saying: "Be not yoked with unbelievers. 
For what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what 
communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath 
Christ with Belial? Or what portion hath a believer with an un- 
believer? And what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? 
For you are a temple of the living God. Therefore come ye out 
from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord." Therefore 
let this case teach every Christian that when he has merit to receive 
heavenly medicine he should not seek after earthly help. 

[7. Death of tfo priest SenochTomT^f the tribe of Theifali." 

8. Germanus, bishop of Paris, dies. As he is taken to be buried 
"his body bears heavily down on the street when the prisoners 
raise a cry and when they are released it is easily taken up again." 

9. The recluse Caluppa dies. 10. The recluse Patroclus dies. 


He was very abstemious and " always wore a hair shirt next his 
body." "His eyes never grew dim."] 

1 1 . And since our God always deigns to give glory to his bish- 
ops, I shall relate what happened to the Jews in Clermont this 
year. Although the blessed bishop Avitus often urged them to 
put aside the veil of the Mosaic law and interpret the Scriptures in 
their spiritual sense, and with pure hearts contemplate in the 
sacred writings Christ, son of the living God, promised on the author- 
ity of prophets and kings, there remained in their hearts, I will 
not now call it the veil which dimmed the light for Moses' face, 
but a wall. The bishop prayed alsoJjiat4iLe^_should-r^^ 
to the Lord and that the veil of the letter ^onJHJip torn frjioilhprnj 
and one of them asked to be baptized on holy Easter, and being 
born again in God by the sacrament of baptism, in his white gar- 
ments he joined the white-clad procession with the others. When 
the people were going in through the gate of the city one of the 
Jews, urged to it by the devil, poured stinking oil on the head of 
the converted Jew. And when all the people, horrified at this, 
wished to stone him, the bishop would not allow it. But on the 
blessed day on which the Lord ascends to heaven in glory after the 
redemption of man, when the bishop was walking in procession 
from the cathedral to the church singing psalms, a multitude of 
those who followed rushed upon the synagogue of the Jews and 
destroying it from the foundations they leveled it to the ground. 
On another day the bishop sent messengers to them saying : 
do not compel you by force to confess the Son of God, but never- 
theless I preach him and I offer to your hearts the salt of wisdom. 
I am the shepherd put in charge of the Lord's sheep, and as regards 
you, the true Shepherd who suffered for us said that he had other 
sheep which are not in his sheepfold but which should be brought 
in, so that there may be one flock and one shepherd. And there- 
fore if you are willing to believe as I, be one flock with me as your 
guardian ; but if not, depart from the place." Now they continued 
a long time in turmoil and doubt and on the third day because of 
the prayers of the bishop, as I suppose, they met together and sent 
word to him saying ; " We believe in JesuSj^on of _the living God^ 
promised to us by the words of the prophets, and therefore we ask 
that we be purified by baptism and remain no longer in this guiltT* 


The bishop was rejoiced at the news and keeping watch through 

* *-* n " 

the night of holy pentecost went out to the baptistery beyond the 
walls and there the whole multitude prostrated themselves before 
him and begged for baptism. And he wept for joy, and cleansing all 
with water he anointed them with ointment and gathered them in 
the bosom of the mother church. Candles were lit, lamps burned 
brightly, the whole city was whitened with the white throng and 
the joy was as great as once Jerusalem saw when the holy spirit 
descended on the apostles. The baptized were more than five 
hundred. But those who refused baptism left that city and re- 
turned to Marseilles. 

[12. The abbot Brachio, a Thuringian and formerly a hunter, 
dies. 13. Great battle between Chilperic's duke, Desiderius, and 
Gunthram's patrician, Mummolus. Desiderius is defeated.] 

14. After this Merovech, who was kept in custody by his father, 
received the tonsure, and changing his garments for those which it 
is customary for the clergy to wear he was ordained priest and sent 
to the monastery at Mans called Anninsola [Saint-Calais] to be 
instructed in the duties of priests. Hearing this Gunthram Boso 
who was then living in the church of St. Martin, as we have stated, 
sent the subdeacon Rigulf to advise him secretly to take refuge in 
the church of St. Martin. And when Merovech was on his way, 
Galen his slave went to meet him from the other side. And since 
his escort was not a strong one he was rescued by Galen on the way, 
and covering his head and putting on secular clothes he took refuge 
in the temple of the blessed Martin. We were celebrating mass in 
the holy church when he entered, finding the door open. After 
the mass he asked us to give him the consecrated bread. Now 
there was with us at that time Ragnemodus, bishop of the see of 
Paris, who had succeeded the holy Germanus ; and when we re- 
fused, Merovech began to raise a disturbance and to say that we 
did not rightly suspend him from the communion without the 
assent of our brethren. When he said this we examined the case 
in the light of canon law, and with the consent of the brother who 
was present he received the consecrated bread from us. I was 
afraid that if I suspended one from communion I would become 
a slayer of many. For he threatened to kill some of our people 
if he did not receive the communion from us. The country of 


Tours has sustained many disasters on this account. In these 
days Nicetius, my niece's husband, went with our deacon to king 
Chilperic on business of his own, and he told the king of Merovech's 
flight. On seeing them queen Fredegunda said: "They are spies 
and have come to learn what the king is doing, in order to know 
what to report to Merovech." And she at once ordered them to 
be spoiled and thrust off into exile, from which they were released 
in the seventh month. Now Chilperic sent messengers to us say- 
ing : "Cast that apostate out of the church. If you don't I will 
burn that whole country with fire." And when we wrote back 
that it was impossible that what had not happened in the time of 
the heretics should now happen in Christian times, he set his army 
in motion and sent it toward this country. 

In the second year of king Childebert, when Merovech saw that 
his father was set in this purpose, he proposed to take with him 
duke Gunthram and go to Brunhilda, saying : "Far be it from me 
that the church of the master Martin should submit to outrage on 
my account, or his country be put into captivity for me." And 
going into the church and keeping watch he offered the things he 
had with him on the tomb of the blessed Martin, praying to the 
saint to help him and to grant him his favor so that he could take 
the kingdom. At that time count Leudast after setting many 
traps for him out of love for Fredegunda, at last craftily entrapped 
his slaves who had gone out into the country and slew them with 
the sword, and he desired to slay Merovech himself if he could find 
him in a suitable place. But Merovech followed Gunthram's 
advice and, desiring to avenge himself, he ordered Marileif the 
chief physician to be seized as he was returning from the king's 
presence, and after beating him most cruelly he took away the 
gold and silver and other valuables which he had with him and left 
him naked, and would have killed him if he had not escaped from 
the hands of those who were beating him and taken refuge in the 
church. And later we clothed him and having obtained his life 
sent him back to Poitiers. Now Merovech charged many crimes 
to his father and stepmother. But although they were partly 
true it was not acceptable to God I suppose that they should be 
made known through a son. This I learned to be so later on. For 
one day I was invited to dine with him and when we were sitting 


together he begged urgently that something be read for the in- 
struction of his soul. So I opened the book of Solomon and took 
the first verse that came which contained the following : "The eye 
of him who looketh at his father askance, the ravens of the valleys 
shall pick it out." Although he did not understand it, I believed 
that this verse had been given by the Lord. Then Gunthram sent 
a slave to a certain woman known to him from the time of king 
Charibert, who had a familiar spirit, in order that she should relate 
what was to happen. He asserted besides that she had foretold to 
him the time, not only the year but also the day and hour, at which 
king Charibert was to die. And she sent back this answer by the 
slaves : " King Chilperic will die this year and king Merovech will ex- 
clude his brothers and take the whole kingdom. And you shall hold 
the office of duke over all his kingdom for five years. But in the 
sixth year you shall win the honor of the bishop's office, with the 
consent of the people, in a city which lies on the river Loire on its 
right bank, and you shall pass from this world old and full of days." 
And when the slaves had come back and reported this to their 
master he was at once filled with vanity as if he were already sitting 
in the chair of the church of Tours, and he reported the words 
to me. But I laughed at his folly and said : "It is from God that 
this should be sought ; what the devil promises is not to be be- 
lieved." He went off in confusion and I had a hearty laugh at 
the man who thought such things credible. At length one night, 
when the watch was being kept in the church of the holy bishop and 
I had lain down and fallen asleep on my bed, I saw an angel flying 
through the air. And when he passed the holy church he cried in 
a loud voice: "Alas. Alas. God has stricken Chilperic and all 
his sons and there shall remain no one of those who came forth 
from his loins to rule his kingdom forever." He had at this time 
four sons by different wives, not to speak of daughters. And when 
this was fulfilled later on, then I saw clearly that what the sooth- 
sayers promised was false. Now while these men were staying 
in the church of St. Martin, queen Fredegunda who already favored 
Gunthram Boso secretly for the death of Theodobert, sent to him 
saying : "If you can cast Merovech forth from the church so that 
he will be killed you shall receive a great gift from me." And he 
thought the assassins were close at hand and said to Merovech : 


"Why are we so spiritless and timid as to sit here and hide slug- 
gishly around the church? Let our horses be brought and let us 
take hawks and hunt with dogs and enjoy the hunting and the 
open views." He was acting cunningly to get Merovech away 
from the holy church. Now Gunthram otherwise was a very good 
man but he was too ready for perjury, and he never took an oath 
to any of his friends but that he broke it forthwith. They went 
out, as we have said, from the church and went as far as the house 
of Jocundiacus near the city ; but Merovech was harmed by no one. 
And as Gunthram was at that time wanted for the killing of Theodo- 
bert, as we have said, king Chilperic sent a letter all written out to 
the tomb of St. Martin which contained the request that the blessed 
Martin would write back to him whether it was permissible to drag 
Gunthram from his church or not. And the deacon Baudegisil, 
who brought the letter, sent to the holy tomb a clean sheet of paper 
along with the one he had brought. And after waiting three 
days and getting no answer he returned to Chilperic. And he 
sent others to exact an oath of Gunthram not to leave the church 
without his knowledge. Gunthram took the oath eagerly and 
gave an altarcloth as pledge that he would never go thence without 
the king's command. Now Merovech did not believe the sorcerers 
but placed three books on the saint's tomb, namely, Psalms, Kings 
and the Gospels, and keeping watch the whole night he prayed the 
blessed confessor to reveal to him what was coming and whether he 
could be king or not, in order that he might know by evidence from 
the Lord. After this he continued three days in fasting, watching 
and prayer, and going to the blessed grave a second time he opened 
the book of Kings. And the first verse on the page which he opened 
was this : "Because you have forsaken the Lord your God and have 
gone after other gods and have not done right in his sight, therefore 
the Lord your God has betrayed you into the hands of your enemies." 
And this verse was found in the Psalms: "But thou hast 
brought evils upon them because of their deceitfulness ; thou hast 
hurled them down when they were lifted up. How have they 
been brought to desolation? They have suddenly failed and per- 
ished because of their iniquities." And in the Gospels this was 
found: "Ye know that after two days the passover cometh and 
the Son of man is delivered up to be crucified." 


At these answers he was troubled and wept long at the tomb 
of the blessed bishop, and then taking duke Gunthram with him 
he went off with five hundred men or more. He left the holy 
church and while marching through the territory of Auxerre he 
was captured by Erpo, king Gunthram's duke. And while he was 
being held by him he escaped by some chance and entered the church 
of the holy Germanus. On hearing this king Gunthram was angry 
and fined Erpo seven hundred gold pieces and removed him from 
office, saying: "You held prisoner one who my brother says is 
his enemy. Now if you intended to do this, you should first have 
brought him to me; otherwise you should not have touched him 
whom you pretended to hold prisoner." 

King Chilperic's army came as far as Tours and plundered 
this region and burned it and laid it waste, and did not spare St. 
Martin's property, but whatever he got his hands on he took with- 
out regard for God or any fear. Merovech remained nearly two 
months in the church I have mentioned and then fled and went 
to queen Brunhilda, but he was not received by the Austrasians. 
And his father set his army in motion against the people of Cham- 
pagne, believing that he was hiding there. He did no injury, but 
he could not find Merovech. 

15. Inasmuch as Clothar and Sigibert had settled the Suevi 
and other tribes on their land when Albin had gone to Italy, they 
who returned in the time of Sigibert, namely the men who had 
been with Albin, rose against them, wishing to thrust them out 
from that country and destroy them. But they offered the Saxons 
a third of the land, saying: "We can live together without inter- 
fering with one another." But the Saxons were angry at them 
because they had themselves held this land before and they were 
by no means willing to be pacified. Then the Suevi made them a 
second offer of a half and then of two-thirds, leaving one-third for 
themselves. And when the Saxons refused this, they offered all 
their flocks and herds with the land, provided only they would 
refrain from attacking them. But they would not agree even to 
this and demanded battle. And before the battle, thinking that 
they had the Suevi already as good as slain, they discussed among 
themselves how they should divide their wives and what each should 
receive after their defeat. But God's mercy which does justice 


turned their thoughts another way. For when they fought there 
were 26,000 Saxons of whom 20,000 fell and of the Suevi 6000 of 
whom 480 only were laid low ; and the remainder won the victory. 
The Saxons who were left took oath that they would cut neither 
beard nor hair until they had taken vengeance on their adversaries. 
But when they fought again they were defeated with greater loss 
and so the war was ended. 

[16. Macliavus and Bodic, counts of the Bretons, are succeeded 
by Theodoric and Waroc. 17. King Gunthram loses his two sons. 
Easter is celebrated by some cities on March 2ist, by others on"! 
April 1 8th. Gunthram adopts his nephew Childebert and they 
order Chilperic to restore what he had taken from them.] 

18. After this Chilperic heard that Praetextatus, bishop of 
Rouen, was giving presents to the people to his disadvantage, and 
ordered him to appear before him. When he was examined he was 
found to have property intrusted to him by queen Brunhilda. ' 
This was taken away and he was ordered to be kept in exile until 
he should be heard by the bishops. The council met and he was 
brought before it. The bishops, who went to Paris, were in the 
church of the holy apostle Peter. And the king said to him ; " Why 
did you decide, bishop, to unite in marriage my enemy Merovech, 
who ought to be my son, and his aunt, that is, his uncle's wife. 
Did you not know what the canons have ordained for such a case ? 
And not only is it proven that you went too far in this matter but 
you actually gave gifts and urged him to kill me. You have made 
a son an enemy of his father, you have seduced the people with 
money so that no one of them would keep faith with me and you 
wished to give my kingdom over into the hands of another/' When 
he said this a multitude of Franks raised an angry shout and wished 
to break through the church doors as if to drag the bishop out and 
stone him ; but the king prevented them. And when the bishop 
Praetextatus denied that he had done what the king charged him 
with, false witnesses came who showed some articles of value say- 
ing : " These and these you gave on condition that we would plight 
faith with Merovech." Upon this he made answer; "You speak 
the truth in saying you have often received gifts from me, but it 
was not for the purpose of driving the king from the kingdom. 
For when you furnished me with excellent horses and other things 


what else could I do but repay you with equal value?" The king 
returned to his lodging, and we being gathered together sat in the 
consistory of the church of the blessed Peter. And while we were 
talking together ^Etius, archdeacon of the church of Paris, came 
suddenly and greeting us said : "Hear me, bishops of God who are 
gathered together ; at this time you shall either exalt your name 
and shine with the grace of good report or else no one will treat 
you hereafter as bishops of God if you do not wisely assert your- 
selves or if you allow your brother to perish." When he said this 
no one of the bishops made him any answer. For they feared the 
fury of the queen at whose instance this was being done. As they 
continued thoughtful with finger on lip, I said : "Most holy bish- 
ops, give your attention, I beg, to my words, and especially you 
who seem to be on friendly terms with the king; give him holy 
and priestly counsel not to burst out in fury at God's servant and 
perish by his anger and lose kingdom and fame." When I said 
this all were silent. And in this silence I added : "Remember, my 
lord bishops, the word of the prophet when he says : ' If the watch- 
man sees the iniquity of a man and does not declare it, he shall be 
guilty for a lost soul.' Therefore do not be silent but speak and 
place the king's sins before his eyes, lest perchance some evil may 
befall him and you be guilty for his soul. Do you not know what 
happened lately? How Chlodomer seized Sigismund and thrust 
him into prison, and Avitus, God's priest, said to him: 'Do not 
lay violent hands on him and when you go to Burgundy you shall 
win the victory.' But he disregarded what was said to him by the 
priest and went and killed him with his wife and sons. And then 
he marched to Burgundy and was there defeated by the army and 
slain. What of the emperor Maximus? When he forced the 
blessed Martin to give communion to a certain bishop who was a 
homicide and Martin yielded to the wicked king in order the more 
easily to free the condemned from death, the judgment of the eternal 
King pursued him and Maximus was driven from the imperial 
throne and condemned to the worst death." When I said this no 
one made any answer but all stared in amazement. Still two flat- 
terers from among them it is painful to say it of bishops car- 
ried the report to the king, saying that he had no greater foe to his 
purposes than I. At once one of the attendants at court was sent 


in all haste to bring me before him. When I came the king stood 
beside a bower made of branches and on his right bishop Bertram 
stood and on his left Ragnemod and there was before them a 
bench covered with bread and different dishes. On seeing me the 
king said: " Bishop, you are bound to give justice freely to all; 
and behold I do not obtain justice from you ; but, as I see, you con- 
sent to iniquity and in you the proverb is fulfilled that crow does 
not tear out the eye of crow." To this I replied : "If any of us, O 
king, desires to leave the path of justice, he can be corrected by 
you ; but if you leave it, who shall rebuke you ? We speak to you ; 
but you listen only if you wish ; and if you refuse to listen who will 
condemn you except him who asserts that he is justice ? " To this 
he answered, being inflamed against me by his flatterers: "With 
all I have found justice and with you only I cannot find it. But 
I know what I shall do that you may be disgraced before the people 
and that it may be evident to all that you are unjust. I will call 
together the people of Tours and say to them ' Cry against Gregory, 
for he is unjust and renders justice to no man.' And when they 
cry this out I will reply : 'I who am king cannot find justice with 
him and shall you who are less than I find it. 7 " At this I said : "You 
do not know that I am unjust. But my conscience knows, to 
which the secrets of the heart are revealed. And if the people cry 
aloud with false cries when you attack me, it is nothing, because 
all know that this comes from you. And therefore it is not I but 
rather you that shall be disgraced in the outcries. But why speak 
further ? You have the law and the canons ; you ought to search 
them diligently ; and then you will know that the judgment of God 
overhangs you if you do not observe their commands." But he 
tried to calm me, thinking that I did not understand that he was 
acting craftily, and pointing to the broth which was set in front of 
him he said : "It was for you I had this broth prepared ; there is 
nothing else in it but fowl and a few peas." But I saw his flattery 
and said to him : "Our food ought to be to do the will of God and 
not to delight in these luxuries, in order by no means to neglect 
what he commands. Now do you who find fault with others for 
injustice promise first that you will not neglect the law and the 
canons ; and then we will believe that you follow justice." Then 
he stretched out his right hand and swore by all-powerful God that 


he would in no way neglect the teaching of the law and the canons. 
Then I took bread and drank wine and departed. But that night 
when the hymns for the night had been sung I heard the door of 
my lodging struck with heavy blows, and sending a slave I learned 
that messengers from queen Fredegunda stood there. They were 
brought in and I received greetings from the queen. Then the 
slaves entreated me not to take a stand opposed to her. And at 
the same time they promised two hundred pounds of silver if I 
would attack Praetextatus and bring about his ruin. For they said : 
"We have already the promise of all the bishops ; only don't you 
go against us." But I answered: "If you give me a thousand 
pounds of silver and gold what else can I do except what the Lord 
instructs me to do? I promise only one thing, that I will follow 
the decision that the rest arrive at in accordance with the canons." 
They did not understand what I meant but thanked me and went 
away. In the morning some of the bishops came to me with a 
similar message ; to which I gave a similar answer. 

We met in the morning in St. Peter's church and the king was 
present and said: "The authority of the canons declares that a 
bishop detected in theft should be cast from the office of bishop." 
When I asked who was the bishop against whom the charge of theft 
was made the king answered: "You saw the articles of value 
which he stole from us." The king had showed us three days 
before two cases full of costly articles and ornaments of different 
sorts which were valued at more than three thousand solidi; more- 
over a bag heavy with coined gold, holding about two thousand 
pieces. The king said this had been stolen from him by the bishop. 
And the bishop answered: "I suppose you remember that when 
queen Brunhilda left Rouen I went to you and said that I had her 
property in keeping, to wit, five parcels, and that her slaves came 
to me frequently to take them back but I was unwilling to give 
them without your advice. And you said to me, O king : ' Rid your- 
self of these things and let the woman have her property back, lest 
enmity rise over this matter between me and Childebert my 
nephew.' I went back to the city and gave one case to the slaves 
for they could not carry more. They returned a second time and 
asked for the others. I again took counsel with your greatness. 
And you gave me directions saying : ' Get rid of these things, 


bishop, get rid of them, for fear the matter may cause a scandal.' 
I again gave them two cases and two more remained with me. But 
why do you calumniate me now and accuse me, when this case 
should not be put in the class of theft but of safe-keeping." Then 
the king said : "If you had this property deposited in your posses- 
sion for safe-keeping, why did you open one of them and cut in 
pieces a girdle woven of gold threads and give to men to drive me 
from the kingdom." Bishop Praetextatus answered: "I told you 
before that I had received their gifts and as I had nothing at 
hand to give I therefore took this and gave it in return for their 
gifts. I regarded as belonging to me what belonged to my son 
Merovech whom I received from the font of regeneration." King 
Chilperic saw that he could not overcome him by false charges, 
and being greatly astonished and thrown into confusion by his 
conscience, he withdrew from us and called certain of his flatterers 
and said : "I confess that I've been beaten by the bishop's replies 
and I know that what he says is true. What am I to do now, that 
the queen's will may be done on him?" And he said : "Go and 
approach him and speak as if giving your own advice ; ' You know 
that king Chilperic is pious and merciful and is quickly moved to 
compassion; humble yourself before him and say that you are 
guilty of the charges he has made. Then we will all throw our- 
selves at his feet and prevail on him to pardon you." : Bishop 
Praetextatus was deceived and promised he would do this. In the 
morning we met at the usual place and the king came and said to 
the bishop: "If you gave gifts to these men in return for gifts, 
why did you ask for an oath that they would keep faith with Mero- 
vech?" The bishop replied : "I confess I did ask their friendship 
for him ; and I would have asked not men alone but, if it were 
right to say so, I would have called an angel from heaven to be 
his helper ; for he was my spiritual son from the baptismal font, 
as I have often said." And when the dispute grew warmer, bishop 
Praetextatus threw himself on the ground and said : "I have sinned 
against heaven and before thee, most merciful king : I am a wicked 
homicide ; I wished to kill you and raise your son to the throne. " 
When he said this the king threw himself down at the feet of the 
bishops and said : "Hear, most holy bishops, the accused confesses 
his awful crime." And when we had raised the king from the 


ground with teaS^Jie_ordered Praetextatus to leave the church. 
He went himself to his lodging, and sent the book of canons to 
which a new quaternion had been added containing the canons 
called apostolic and having the following : Let a bishop detected in 
homicide, adultery or perjury be cast out from his office. This was 
read and while Praetextatus stood in a daze, bishop Bertram spoke : 
"Hear, brother and fellow-bishop ; you have not the king's favor ; 
and therefore you cannot enjoy our mercy before you win the 
indulgence of the king." After this the king demanded that his 
robe should be torn from him and the hundred and eighth psalm 
which contains the curses against Iscariot be read over his head 
and at the least, that the judgment be entered against him to be 
excommunicated forever. Which proposals I resisted according 
to the king's promise that nothing be done outside the canons. 
Then Praetextatus was taken from our sight and placed in custody. 
And attempting to flee in the night he was grievously beaten and 
was thrust off into exile in an island of the sea that lies near the 
city of Coutances. 

After this the report was that Merovech was a second time try- 
ing to take refuge in the church of St. Martin. But Chilperic gave 
orders to watch the church and close all entrances. And leaving 
one door by which a few of the clergy were to go in for the services, 
guards kept all the rest closed. Which caused great inconvenience 
to the people. When we were staying in Paris signs appeared in 
the sky, namely, twenty rays in the northern part which rose in 
the east and sped to the west ; and one of them was more extended 
and overtopped the rest and when it had risen to a great height it 
soon passed away, and likewise the remainder which followed dis- 
appeared. I suppose they announced Merovech's death. Now 
when Merovech was lurking in Champagne near Rheims and did 
not trust himself to the Austrasians openly, he was entrapped by 
the people of Therouanne, who said that they would abandon his 
father Chilperic and serve him if he came to them. And he took 
his bravest men and went to them swiftly. Then they revealed 
the stratagem they had prepared and shut him up at a certain 
village and surrounded him with armed men and sent messengers 
to his father. And he listened to them and purposed to hasten 
thither. But while Merovech was detained in a certain inn he 


began to fear that he would pay many penalties to satisfy the ven- 
geance of his enemies, and called to him Galen his slave and said : 
"Up to the present we have had one mind and purpose. I ask 
you not to allow me to fall into the hands of my enemies, but to 
take your sword and rush upon me." And Galen did not hesitate 
but stabbed him with his dagger. The king came and found him 
dead. There were some at the time who said that Merovech's 
words, which we have just reported, were an invention of the 
queen, and that Merovech had been secretly killed at her command. 
Galen was seized and his hands, feet, ears, and the end of his nose 
were cut off, and he was subjected to many other tortures and 
met a cruel death. Grindio they fastened to a wheel and raised 
aloft, and Ciucilo, once count of king Sigibert's palace, they exe- 
cuted by beheading. Moreover they cruelly butchered by various 
forms of death many others who had come with Merovech. Men 
said at that time that bishop Egidius and Gunthram Boso were the 
leaders in the betrayal, because Gunthram enjoyed the secret 
friendship of Fredegunda for the killing of Theodobert, and Egidius 
had been her friend for a long time. 

[19. Tiberius Caesar, his alms to the poor, and the treasures 
miraculously discovered by him.] 

20. An uproar arose against the bishops Salunius and Sagit- \ 
tarius. They had been trained by the holy Nicetius, 1 bishop of 
Lyons, and had attained the office of deacon; and in his time 
Salunius was made bishop of Embrun and Sagittarius of Gap. 
Having reached the office of bishop they became their own masters 
and in a mad way began to seize property, wound, kill, commit 
adultery, and various other crimes, and at one time when Victor, 
bishop of Saint-Paul Trois-Chateaux was celebrating his birthday, 
they sent a band of men to attack him with swords and arrows. 
They went and tore his robes, wounded his servants, and carried 
off the dishes and everything used at the dinner, leaving the bishop 
overwhelmed by abuse. When king Gunthram learned of it he 
ordered a synod to meet in Lyons. The bishops assembled with 
the patriarch, blessed Nicetius, and after examining the case found 
that they were absolutely convicted of the crimes charged to them, 
and they ordered that men guilty of such acts should be removed 

1 Gregory's great uncle. 


from the office of bishop. But since Salunius and Sagittarius knew 
that the king was still favorable to them they went to him com- 
plaining that they were unjustly removed and asking for permis- 
sion to go to the pope of the city of Rome. The king listened to 
their prayers and gave them letters and let them go. They went 
to John the pope and told that they had been removed without 
any good reason. And he sent letters to the king in which he 
directed that they should be restored to their places. This the 
king did without delay, first rebuking them at length. But, what 
is worse, no improvement followed. However they did ask pardon 
of bishop Victor and surrendered the men whom they had sent 
at the time of the disturbance. But he remembered the Lord's 
teaching that evil should not be repaid one's enemies for "evil and 
did them no harm but allowed them to go free. For this he was 
afterward suspended from the communion, because after making 
a public accusation he had secretly pardoned his enemies without 
\ the advice of the brethren to whom he had made the charge. But 
by the king's favor he was again restored to communion. But 
these men daily engaged in greater crimes and, as we have stated 
before, they armed themselves like laymen, and killed many with 
their own hands in the battles which Mummolus fought with the 
Lombards. And among their fellow-citizens they were carried 
away by animosity and beat a number with clubs and let their 
fury carry them as far as the shedding of blood. Because of this 
the outcry of the people again reached the king. The king ordered 
them to be summoned. On their arrival he refused to let them 
come into his presence, thinking that their hearing should be held 
first and that if they were found good men they would deserve an 
audience with the king. But Sagittarius was transported with 
rage, taking the matter hard, and being light and vain and ready 
with thoughtless speech, he began to make many loud declarations 
about the king and to say that his sons cannot inherit the kingdom 
because their mother had been taken to the king's bed from among 
the slaves of Magnachar; not knowing that the families of the 
wives are now disregarded and they are called the sons of a king 
who have been begotten by a king. On hearing this the king was 
greatly aroused and took away from them horses, slaves and what- 
ever they had, and ordered them to be taken and shut up in distant 



monasteries to do penance there, leaving not more than a single 
clerk to each, and giving terrible warnings to the judges of the 
places to guard them with armed men and leave no opportunity 
open for any one to visit them. Now the king's sons were living at 
this time, and the older of them began to be sick. And the king's 
friends went to him and said: "If the king would deign to hear 
favorably the words of his servants they would speak in his ears." 
And he said ; " Speak whatever you wish." And they said : "Be- 
ware lest perhaps these bishops be condemned to exile though inno- 
cent, and the king's sin be increased somewhat, and because of it 
the son of our master perish." And the king said; "Go with all 
speed and release them and beg them to pray for our little ones." 
They departed and the bishops were released and leaving the 
monasteries they met and kissed each other because they had not 
seen each other for a long time, and returned to their cities and 
were so penitent that they apparently never ceased from psalm- 
singing, fasting, almsgiving, reading the book of the songs of David 
through the day and spending the night in singing hymns and medi- 
tating on the readings. But this absolute piety did not last long 
and they fell a second time and generally spent the nights in feast- 
ing and drinking, so that when the clergy were singing the matins 
in the church these were calling for cups and drinking wine. There 
was no mention at all of God, no services were observed. When 
morning came they arose from dinner and covered themselves with 
soft coverings and buried in drunken sleep they would lie till the 
third hour of the day. And there were women with whom they 
polluted themselves. And then they would rise and bathe and lie 
down to eat; in the evening they arose and later they devoted 
themselves greedily to dinner until the dawn, as we have mentioned 
above. So they did every day until God's anger fell upon them, 
which we will tell of later. 

[21. Winnoc the Breton is made a priest. The miracle of the 
holy water from the tomb of St. Martin. 22. Death of Chilperic's 
young son. 23. List of prodigies. 24. Chilperic takes Poitiers 
from Childebert. 25. Duke Dracolen captures the deserter Dacco 
and takes him to Chilperic. He commits suicide. Dracolen then 
meets Gunthram Boso, fights him on horseback and is killed. 
Violent end of Gunthram's father-in-law. 26. Chilperic sends an 


army including "the people of Tours" against the Bretons. Later 
he "orders fines to be paid by the poor and the younger clergy of 
the church because they had not served in the army" although 
" there was no custom for these to perform any state service." 
27. Salunius and Sagittarius the bishops are degraded.] 

28. King Chilperic ordered new and heavy impositions to be 
made in all his kingdom. For this reason many left these cities 
and abandoned their properties and fled to other kingdoms, think- 
ing it better to be in exile elsewhere than to be subject to such 
danger. For it had been decreed that each landowner should pay 
a measure of wine per acre [aripennis]. Moreover many other 
taxes were imposed both on the remaining lands and on the slaves, 
which could not be paid. When the people of Limoges saw that 
they were weighed down by such burdens they assembled on the 
first of March and wished to kill Marcus the referendary who had 
been ordered to collect these dues, and they would have done so, 
had not bishop Ferreolus freed him from the threatening danger. 
The assembled multitude seized the tax books and burned them. 
At this the king was greatly disturbed and sent officials from his 
court and fir?d the people huge sums and frightened them with 
tortures and put them to death. They say, too, that at that time 
abbots and priests were stretched on crosses and subjected to various 
tortures, the royal messengers accusing them falsely of having been 
accomplices in the burning of the books at the rising of the people. 
And henceforth they imposed more grievous taxes. 

[29. Fighting between Bretons and Franks goes on. 30. Ti- 
berius succeeds Justin as emperor. 31. The Bretons pillage the 
country about Nantes and Rennes.] 

32. At Paris a certain woman fell under reproach, many charg- 
ing that she had left her husband and was intimate with another. 
Then her husband's kinsmen went to her father saying: "Either 
make your daughter behave properly or she shall surely die, lest 
her wantonness lay a disgrace on our family." "I know," said the 
father, "that my daughter is well-behaved and the word is not true 
that evil men speak of her. Still, to keep the reproach from going 
further, I will make her innocent by my oath." And they replied : 
"If she is without guilt declare it on oath upon the tomb herejpf^ 
the blessed Denis the martyr." "I will do so," said the father. 


Then having made the agreement they met at the church of the 
holy martyr and the father raised his hands above the altar and 
swore that hisjdaughter was not guilty. On the other hajiHTonieTs 
on the part of the husband declared that he had committed perjury. 
They entered into a dispute, drew their swords and rushed on one 
another, and killed one another before the very altar. Now they 
were men advanced in years and leaders with king Chilperic. 
Many received sword wounds, the holy church was spattered with 
human blood, the doors were pierced with darts and swords and 
godless missiles raged as far as the very tomb. When the struggle 
had with difficulty been stopped, the church was put under an in- 
terdict until the whole matter should come under the king's notice. 
They hastened to the presence of the prince but were not received 
with favor. They were sent back to the bishop of the place and 
the^acder^svas given that if theywere not found guilty of this crime 
they might rightly be admitted to communion. Then they atoned 
forjtheir_eyil_conduct and were taken back to^lhe communion of 
the church by Ragnemod, bishop of Paris. Not many days later 
the woman on being summoned to trial hanged herself. 

[33. A long list of prodigies.] 

34. A very grievous plague followed these prodigies. For 
while the kings were quarreling and again preparing for civil war, 
dysentery seized upon nearly the whole of the Gauls. The sufferers 
had a high fever with vomiting and excessive pain in the kidneys ; 
the head and neck were heavy. Their expectorations were of a 
saffron color or at least green. It was asserted by many that it 
was a secret poison. The common people called it internal pimples 
and this is not incredible, seeing that when cupping glasses were placed 
on the shoulders or legs mattery places formed and broke and the 
corrupted blood ran out and many were cured. Moreover herbs 
that are used to cure poisons were drunk and helped a good many. 
This sickness began in the month of August and seized upon the 
little ones and laid them on their beds. We lost dear sweet children 
whom we nursed on our knees or carried in our arms and nourished 
with attentive care, feeding them with our own hand. But wiping 
away our tears we say with the blessed Job : "The Lord has given ; 
the Lord has taken away ; the Lord's will has been done. Blessed 
be his name through the ages." 


In these days king Chilperic was very sick. When he got well 
his younger son, who was not yet reborn of water and the Holy 
Srjirit, fell ill, and when they saw_ herwas in danger they ^baptized 
Jn'm^ He was doing a little better when his older brother named 
Clodobert was attacked by the same disease. Their mother Frede- 
gunda saw they were in danger of death and she repented too late, 
and said to the king: "The divine goodness has longjborne with 
our bad actions ; it has often rebuked us with fevers and other 
evils but repentance did not follow and now we are losing our sons. 
It is the tears of the poor, the outcries of widows and the sighs of 
orphans that are destroying them. We have no hope left now in 
gathering weaHh. We get riches and we do not know for wKom. 
Our treasures v r ill be left without an owner, full of violence and 
curses. Our storehouses are full of wine and our barns of grain, 
and our treasuries are full of gold, silver, precious stones, neck- 
laces, and all the wealth of rulers. But we are losing what we held 
more dear. Come, please, let us burn all the wicked tax lists and 
let what sufficed for your father king Clothar, suffice for your 
treasury." So the queen spoke, beating her breast with her fists, 
and she ordered the books to be brought out that had been brought 
from her cities by Marcus, and when she had thrown them in the 
fire she said to the king: "Why do you delay; do what you see 
me do, so that if we have lost our dear children we may at least 
escape eternal punishment." Then the king repented and burned 
all the tax books and when they were burned he sent men to stop 
future taxes. After this the younger child wasted away in great 
pain and died. They carried him with great grief from Braine to 
Paris and buried him in the church of St. Denis. Clodobert they 
placed on a litter and took him to St. Medard's church in Soissons, 
and threw themselves down at the holy tomb and made vows for 
him, but being already breathless and weak he died at midnight. 
They buried him in the holy church of the martyrs Crispin and 
Crispinian. There was much lamenting among all the people ; for 
men and women followed this funeral sadly wearing the mourning 
clothes that are customary when a husband or wife dies. After this 
king Chilperic was generous to cathedrals and churches and the poor. 

35. In these days Austrechild, wife of prince Gunthram, suc- 
cumbed to this disease, but before she breathed out her worthless 


life, seeing she could not escape, she drew deep sighs and wished 
to have partners in her death, intending that at her funeral there 
should be mourning for others. It is said that she made a request 
of the king in Herodian fashion saying: "I would still have had 
hopes of life if I had not fallen into the hands of wicked physicians ; 
for the draughts they gave me have taken my life away perforce 
and have caused me swiftly to lose the light of day. And there- 
fore I beg you let my death not go unavenged, and I conjure you 
with an oath to have them slain by the sword as soon as I depart 
from the light ; so that, just as I cannot live longer, so they too 
shall not boast after my death, and the grief of our friends and of 
theirs shall be one and the same." So speaking she gave up her 
unhappy soul. And the king after the customary period of public 
mourning fulfilled her wicked order, forced by the oath to his cruel 
wife. He ordered the two physicians who had attended her to be 
slain with the sword, and the wisdom of many believes that this 
was not done without sin. 

[36. Nanthinus, count of Angouleme, dies of the plague. He 
had been a bitter enemy of the bishops. 37. Death of Martin, 
bishop of Galicia. 38. The Arian queen of Spain, Gaisuenta, is 
enraged at her Catholic daughter-in-law. "She seizes the girl by 
the hair of her head, dashes her on the ground, kicks her for a long 
time and covers her with blood and orders her to be stripped and 
ducked in the fish-pond." The girl however converts her husband 
but he is sent into exile. 39. Fredegunda brings about the death 
of Clovis, Chilperic's son. 40. Elafius, bishop of Chalons, and 
Eonius, exiled bishop of Vannes, die. 41. Chilperic seizes legates 
sent by the king of Galicia to king Gunthram. List of prodigies 
including a destructive wind of which Gregory says; "Its space 
was about seven acres in width but one could not estimate its 

42. Maurilio, bishop of the city of Cahors, was seriously ill of 
gout, but in addition to the pain which the humor caused, he sub- 
jected himself to added tortures. For he often put white-hot iron 
against his feet and legs in order to make his pain greater. While 
many were candidates for his office he himself preferred Ursicinus 
who had once been referendary to queen Vulthrogotha and he begged 
that Ursicinus be ordained before his death, and then passed away 


from the world. He was a very liberal almsgiver, very learned in 
the church writings, so much so that he often repeated from memory 
the succession of generations given in the books of the Old Testa- 
ment which many find it difficult to remember. He was also just 
in judgments, and he defended the poor of his church from the 
hand of the wicked according to the judgment of Job : "I delivered 
the poor from the hand of the mighty and I helped the needy who 
had no helper. The mouth of the widow blessed me, for I was an 
eye to the blind, a foot to the lame, and a father to the weak." 

[43. Debate over the Trinity between Gregory and a Spanish 

44 . At the same time kmg_Chilperic wrote a little treatisejx> 
the effect that^ the holy Trinity should not be so called with refer- 
ence to distinct persons but should merely have the meaning of 
God, saying that i was unseemly that God should be called a person 
like a manof flesh ; affirming also that the Father is the same as 
the Son and that the Holy Spirit also is the same as the Father and 
the Son rr Such," said he, "was the view of the prophets and 
patriaxch^^njd~such isjteaching the law itself has given." When 
he had had this read to me he said : "I want you and the other 
teachers of the church to hold this view." But I answered him : 
"pood king, abandon this belief ; it is your duty to follow the doc- 
trine which the other teachers of the church left to us after the 
time of the apostles, the teachings of Hilarius and Eusebius which 
you~professed at baptism." Then the king was angry and said : 
"It is plain that in this case Hilarius and Eusebius are my bitter 
enemies." And I answered him : "It is better for you to be careful 
and nol..make_eiiemies either of O^ flf hf? f oiV>fg Now_Jet m 
tell you that as persons the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit 
are distinct. It was not the Father whn t^)^ on fles|i r nor the 
Holy Spirit, but the Son, so that he who was Son of God became 
the son of a virgin also for the redemption of man. It was not the 
Father^wJio__suffered, nor the Holy Spirit, but the Son7^o~ttetjiu 
who had taken _on flesh^ in the world, was himself offered for the 
world. And what you say about persons must be understood not 
in a material but in a spiritual sense. In these three persons, then, 
there is one glory, one eternity, one power." But he became excited 
and said: "I will explain these matters to wiser men than you 


and they will agree with me." I replied: "No wise man will he 
be but a fool, who will consent to follow your proposals." At this 
he ground his teeth and said no more. A few days later bishop 
Salvius of Albi visited him and he had this treatise read to him, 
begging him to accept his views. But upon hearing them Salvius 
was so revolted that if he could have laid hands on the paper con- 
taining the writing he would have torn it into bits. And so the 
king gave up the project. / The king wrote also other books in verse 
following Sedulius as a model. But those poor verses have no rela- 
tion of any sort with meter. He also added letters to our alphabet, 
namely G> as the Greeks have it, <z, the, vvi, which are written by 
the following characters : c*> 0, a i/r ? the Z, v m A. And he wrote 
to all the cities of his kingdom that boys should be taught these 
letters and that books written in previous times should be erased 
with pumice and rewritten. 

[45. Agricola, bishop of Chalon-sur-Saone, dies. "He con- 
structed many buildings in that city, erecting houses, and building 
a church which he supported with columns and adorned with vari- 
colored marbles and mosaics."] 

46. At that time also Dalmatius bishop of Rodez passed away, 
a man distinguished for every kind of holiness, an abstainer from 
food and the desires of the flesh, a great almsgiver and kind to all, 
steadfast enough in prayer and watching. He built a church, but 
frequently tore it down to build it better and left it unfinished. 
After his death, as usual there were many candidates for his office. - 
And the priest Transobad, who at one time had been his arch- 
deacon, was making a great effort for it, relying on the fact that he- 
had put his son in care of Gogo who was then tutor to the king. 
Now the bishop had made a will in which he indicated to the king 
who was to receive this office after his death, adjuring him with 
terrible oaths not to appoint a stranger in that church, nor a greedy 
man, nor one entangled by marriage, but that one free from all 
these drawbacks should be put in his place, who would spend his 
days in the praise of the Lord and nothing else. Now the priest 
Transobad prepared a feast for the clergy in the city. And while 
they were seated one of the priests began to abuse shamelessly the 
bishop mentioned above, and he went so far as to call him a mad- 
man and a fool. While he was speaking the butler came to offer 


him a cup. He took it, but as he was raising it to his mouth he 
began to tremble and the cup dropped from his hand and he leaned 
his head on the man next him and gave up the ghost. He was 
carried from the feast to the grave and covered with earth. After 
this the bishop's will was read in the presence of king Childebert 
and his chief men, and Theodosius who was then archdeacon in 
that city was ordained bishop. 

47. Now Chilperic heard of all the harm Leudast was doing 
to the churches of Tours and to all the people and he sent Ansoald 
thither. He came at the festival of St. Martin and, giving us and 
the people a choice, raised Eunomius to the office of count. Then 
Leudast perceived that he had lost his place and went to Chilperic, 
saying: "Most pious king, up to now I have guarded the city of 
Tours; but now that I have been removed see how it will be 
guarded. For let me tell you that bishop Gregory purposes to 
surrender it to Sigibert's son." Upon hearing this the king said : 
"By no means, but you make this charge only for the reason that 
you have been removed." But he answered: "There is more 
that the bishop says about you ; for he says that the queen com- 
mitted adultery with bishop Bertram." Then the king was en- 
raged and struck and kicked him and ordered him to be loaded 
with chains and thrust into prison. 

48. Now as this book should soon be finished I wish to tell 
something of his actions; and first it seems best to describe in 
order his family, his native place, and his character. There is an 
island of Poitou called Gracina in which he was born to a slave 
(named Leuchadius) belonging to a vine-dresser of the fisc. Thence 
he was sent to service and assigned to the royal kitchen. But as 
his eyes were bleared when he was young and the bitter smoke 
hurt them, he was removed from the pestle and promoted to the 
basket, but he only pretended to be happy among the fermented 
dough, and soon ran away and left his service. And when he had 
been brought back twice or three times and could not be prevented 
from running away, he was punished by having one ear cut off. 
Then as he was not able by any power to conceal the mark of dis- 
grace on him, he fled to queen Marcovefa, whom king Charibert 
loved greatly and had married in her sister's place. She received 
him gladly and appointed him keeper of her best horses. Then 


he was filled with vanity and given over to pride and began to 
intrigue for the office of count of the stables. Getting this, he 
despised and disregarded all ; he was puffed up with vanity, softened 
with wantonness, inflamed with greed and he hastened hither and 
thither in the service of his patroness. After her death, being now 
rich with plunder, he made gifts to king Charibert and began to 
hold a place with him. Then the sins of the people increased and 
he was sent as count to Tours, and here he was more uplifted by 
the pride of his high office and here he showed himself to be a 
greedy plunderer, a loud-mouthed disputer and a foul adulterer. 
And here by sowing discord and bringing false charges he acquired 
no small treasure. After Charibert's death, when the city had 
fallen to Sigibert's share he went over to Chilperic and all that he 
had wickedly accumulated was taken by the adherents of the king 
I have named. Then king Chilperic took possession of Tours 
through his son Theodobert, I having by this time come to Tours, 
and he was strongly recommended to me by Theodobert to hold 
the office of count which he had held before. He showed himself 
very humble and submissive to us, swearing often by the tomb of 
the holy bishop that he would never go against reason and that he 
would be loyal to me in his own causes as well as in all needs of 
the church. For he was afraid that, as later happened, king Sigi- 
bert would bring the city again under his rule. When Sigibert 
died Chilperic succeeded him and Leudast again became count. 
But when Merovech came to Tours he plundered all Leudast's 
property. Now during the two years that Sigibert held Tours, 
Leudast lay hid among the Bretons. And when he took the office 
of count, as we have said, he was so foolish as to enter the bishop's 
house with breastplate and coat of mail, girt with a quiver and 
carrying a lance in his hand, and with a helmet on his head, being 
secure with no one because he was an enemy to all. And if he sat 
at a trial with the chief men of the clergy and laity and saw any 
one seeking justice, he would at once be transported into a rage 
and would pour out abuse on the citizens ; he would order priests 
to be dragged away in fetters and soldiers beaten with clubs, 
and he showed such cruelty as can scarcely be described. And when 
Merovech, who had plundered his property, went away, Leudast 
began to accuse me falsely, asserting that Merovech had followed 


my advice in taking his property. But after doing me damage 
he again repeated his oath and gave a cloth from the tomb of the 
blessed Martin as security that he would never oppose me. 

49. But as it is a tedious thing to relate in order his perjuries 
and other crimes, let us come to the story of how he wished by vile 
and wicked calumnies to oust me from my place, and how the 
divine vengeance fell upon him, so that the saying was fulfilled, 
"Every supplanter shall be supplanted," and again; " Whoso 
diggeth a pit shall fall therein." After the many wrongs he did 
to me and mine, after many plunderings of the church property, 
he united to himself the priest Riculf, as perverse and wicked as 
himself, and went so far as to say that I had made a charge against 
queen Fredegunda, asserting that if my archdeacon Plato or my 
friend Galien should be subjected to torture they would certainly 
convict me of such words. It was then that the king was angry, 
as I have stated above, and after beating and kicking him ordered 
him to be loaded with chains and thrust into prison. Now he said 
that he had Riculf, a cleric, on whose authority he said this. But 
this Riculfus was a sub-deacon, as unstable as Leudast, who a year 
before had entered into this design with Leudast, and had looked 
for causes of offense in order, forsooth, to go over to Leudast be- 
cause I was angry, and he found them and went to him, and for 
four months they prepared all their tricks and laid their traps, and 
then he came back to me with Leudast and begged me to pardon 
and take him back. I did it, I confess, and publicly received a 
secret enemy into my household. And when Leudast went away, 
Riculf threw himself at my feet and said: " Unless you come 
quickly to my help I shall perish. Behold, at Leudast's urging I 
have said what I should not have. Now send me to another 
kingdom; if you do not I shall be seized by the king's men and 
suffer the punishment of death." And I said to him: "If you 
have said anything out of the way your words shall be on your own 
head ; for I will not send you to another kingdom, lest I be held 
in suspicion by the king." After this Leudast became his accuser, 
saying that he had the words already mentioned from Riculf, the 
subdeacon. And he was bound and put under guard and Leudast 
was released. And Riculf said that Galien and the archdeacon 
Plato were present on the same day when the bishop said this. 


But the priest Riculf, who by this time had the promise of the 
bishop's office from Leudast, was so elated that he more than 
equaled Simon in his pride. And he who had sworn to me three 
times or more on the tomb of St. Martin, on the sixth day of Easter 
week made at me so furiously with abuse and spittings that he all 
but laid hands on me, confident, of course, in the trap he had pre- 
pared. On the next day, that is, the day before Easter Sunday, 
Leudast came to the city of Tours and pretending to have other 
business, seized Plato the archdeacon and Galien, and bound 
them and ordered them led to the queen, loaded with chains and 
without their robes. I heard of this while I sat in the bishop's 
house, and in sadness and worry I went into the oratory and took 
the book of David's song, that when opened a verse might give some 
consolation. And this is what I found: "He led them in hope 
and they did not fear, and the sea covered their enemies." Mean- 
time they embarked on the river above the bridge which was sup- 
ported by two boats, and the boat which carried Leudast sank, 
and if he had not escaped by swimming he would perhaps have 
perished with his comrades. And the other boat which was in 
tow of this one and carried the prisoners, was kept above water 
by God's help. So the prisoners were taken to the king and were 
immediately accused in such terms that their punishment would 
be death. But the king thought it over and freed them from chains 
and kept them unharmed in free custody. Now at the city of 
Tours duke Berulf and count Eunomius concocted a story that 
king Gunthram wished to take the city of Tours and "therefore," 
said they, "the city ought to be guarded so that there would be no 
carelessness." They craftily set guards at the gates who pretended 
they were guarding the city but were really watching me. They 
also sent persons to advise me to take the valuables of the church 
and flee secretly to Clermont. But I did not take the advice. 
Then the king summoned the bishops of his kingdom and ordered" 
the case carefully gone into. And when the clerk Riculf was talk- 
ing secretly as he often did, and was telling many lies against me 
and my friends, Modestus, a carpenter, said to him, "Ill-fated man, 
who talk so insubordinately against your bishop. It would be 
better for you to be silent and to beg pardon from the bishop and 
obtain his favor." At this Riculf began to cry with a loud voice 


and say : "Behold the man who orders me to be silent that I may 
not make the truth public. Behold the queen's enemy who does 
not permit the charge against her to be looked into." This was 
at once reported to the queen. Modestus was seized, tortured, 
whipped, put in chains, and kept under guard. And though he was 
between two guards and held by chains to a pillar, the guards fell 
asleep and at midnight he prayed to the Lord that his power should 
deign to visit a wretched man and that an innocent prisoner should 
be freed by the visitation of the bishops Martin and Medard. 
Then the chains were broken, the pillar was shattered, the door 
opened, and he came to the church of St. Medard where I was 
keeping watch by night. 

The bishops assembled at Braine and were ordered to meet in 
a house. Then the king came, and after greeting all and receiving 
their blessing, he took his seat. Then Bertram, bishop of Bordeaux, 
against whom and the queen this charge had been brought, ex- 
plained the case and questioned me, saying that the charge had 
been brought against him and the queen by me. I denied in 
truth that I had said these things, saying others might have heard 
them but I had not invented them. Now outside the doors there 
was a great shouting among the people, who said : "Why are these 
charges made against a bishop of God ? Why does the king prose- 
cute such charges? The bishop could not have said such things 
even about a slave. Alas, Alas ! Lord God help thy servant." 
But the king said : "The charge against my wife is an insult to me. 
If therefore it is your will that witnesses be heard against the bishop 
behold here they are. But if it is your decision that this should 
not be done, and the matter be left to the honor of the bishop, 
speak. I will gladly hear your command." All wondered both 
at the king's wisdom and his patience. Then all said: "An in- 
ferior cannot be believed against a bishop," and the case came to 
this, that masses were said at three altars and I cleared myself of 
these words by oath. And though it was contrary to the canons, 
still it was done for the king's sake. Moreover I cannot pass over 
the fact that queen Riguntha sympathized with my grief and 
fasted with all her household until the slave reported that I had 
done all as was arranged. Then the bishops returned to the king and 
said : "All that was required of the bishop has been done. What 


now remains for you, O king, except to be excommunicated together 
with Bertram, the accuser of his brother? " "O no," said he, "I 
only told what I had heard." When they asked who had told 
this, he answered that he had heard it from Leudast. But he had 
already fled, from the weakness either of his resolution or of his 
cause. Thenall the bishops decideoVthat the spreader of scandalr* 
traducer of the queen, accuser of a bisEop, "should be kept out of 
all churches because he had withdrawn from their judgment. 
And they sent a letter with their signatures to the bishops who- 
were not present. And so each returned to his own place. Leu- 
dast heard this and took refuge in the church of St. Peter in Paris. 
But when he heard the king's edict that he should be received by 
no one in his kingdom, and especially because his son whom he 
had left at home had died, he came to Tours secretly and carried 
his valuables to Bourges. And when the king's men pursued him 
he escaped by flight. But his wife was captured and sent into 
exile at a village of Tournai. But the_clerk Riculf was sentenced 
to death. But I managed to secure his life, although I could not- 
free him from torture. No material thing, no metal, could have 
endured such blows as this wretch. For from the third hour he 
hung suspended from a tree with his hands tied behind his back ; 
at the ninth he was taken down, stretched on a wheel, beaten 
with clubs, rods, and doubled thongs, and not by one or two, but 
there were as many floggers as could reach his miserable limbs. 
When he was in danger, he disclosed the truth and made known the 
secret plot. He said that the charge had been made against the 
queen for this reason, that she might be driven from the kingdom 
and Clovis might kill his brothers and take the kingdom, and 
make Leudast a duke, and that the priest Riculf, who had been 
a friend of Clovis from the time of the blessed bishop Eufronius, 
might get the bishopric of Tours, while this clerk Riculf would get 
the archdeaconate. Returning to Tours by the grace of God we 
found the church thrown into confusion by the priest Riculf. Now 
this man had been raised from the poor under bishop Eufronius 
and made archdeacon. Later he was raised to the priesthood and 
returned to his own place. He was always lofty, inflated, and pre- 
sumptuous. While I was still with the king this man went shame- 
lessly into the bishop's house as if already bishop, and made an 


inventory of the church silver and brought the rest of the property 
under his control. To the more important clergy he gave presents 
and distributed vineyards and meadows ; the lesser he beat with 
clubs and many blows even with his own hand, saying : " Recognize 
your master, who has triumphed over his enemies and by his de- 
termination has cleared Tours of the people of Clermont." The 
wretch did not know that with the exception of five bishops all the 
other bishops of Tours are connected with my family stock. He 
used often to say to his friends that a wise man can be deceived 
only by perjuries. Now upon my return, when he continued to 
despise me and did not come to greet me as the other citizens did, 
but rather threatened to kill me, by the advice of the provincials I 
had him removed to a monastery. And while he was closely watched 
there, messengers from bishop Felix who had been a supporter of the 
charge against me came ; the abbot was deceived by perjuries and 
Riculf escaped and went to bishop Felix. He received him with 
respect though he should have cursed him. And Leudast hastened 
to Bourges and took with him all the treasures which he had got 
by spoiling the poor. Not long after, the people of Bourges with 
the judge of the place attacked him and carried off all his gold and 
silver and what he had brought with him, leaving nothing but what 
he had on him, and they would have taken life itself if he had not 
fled. Then he regained support and with some men of Tours 
attacked his plunderers, and killing one, he recovered some of his 
property and returned to the territory of Tours. Hearing this, 
duke Berulf sent his men well armed to seize him. He perceived 
that he would soon be taken and abandoned his property and 
fled to the church of St. Hilary in Poitiers. Duke Berulf sent the 
captured property to the king. Then Leudast left the church and 
attacked the houses of several and took plunder without conceal- 
ment. Moreover he was often caught in adultery on the sacred 
porch itself. The queen was roused that a place consecrated to 
God should be so polluted, and ordered him to be cast from the 
holy church. And being cast out, he went a second time to his 
friends in Bourges asking to be concealed. 

50. Although I should have spoken before of my conversation 
with the blessed bishop Salvius, it slipped my mind, and I suppose 
it is not wicked if it is written later. When I had said good-by to 


the king after the synod I mentioned, and was anxious to return 
home, I decided not to go before kissing this man and taking leave 
of him. And I found him in the entrance of the house of Braine. 
And I said to him that I was about to return home. Then we with- 
drew a little and speaking of this and that he said to me: "Do 
you see upon this roof what I see?" I replied : "Why, I see the 
roof-covering which the king lately gave orders to place there." 
But he asked: "Don't you see anything else?" And I said: 
"Nothing else." For I suspected that he was making a joke. 
And I added : "Tell me what more you see." But he drew a deep 
sigh and said; "I see the sword of divine wrath unsheathed and 
threatening this house." The bishop's words were not wrong ; for 
twenty days later there died the two sons of the king whose deaths 
I have described before. 



1. Childebert goes over to Chilperic ; Mummulus flees. 

2. Return of Chilperic's legates from the East. 

3. Childebert's legates to Chilperic. 

4. How Lupus was driven from Childebert's kingdom. 

5. Argument with a Jew. ^~ 

6. The holy recluse Hospicius, his abstinence and miracles. <t~- 

7. Passing away of Ferreolus, bishop of Uzes. 

8. The recluse Ebarchius of Angouleme. 

9. Domnolus, bishop of Mans. 

10. St. Martin's church is broken into. 

11. Bishop Theodore and Dinamius. 

12. An army marches against Bourges. 

13. The killing of Lupus and Ambrosius, citizens of Tours. 

14. The portents which appeared. 

15. Death of bishop Felix. 

16. Pappolenus recovers his wife. 

17. Conversion of Jews by king Chilperic. <<-- 

1 8. Return of king Chilperic's legates from Spain. 

19. King Chilperic's men at the river Orge. 

20. Death of duke Chrodinus. 

21. Signs that appeared. CC 

22. Bishop Cartherius. 

23. A son is born to king Chilperic. 

24. A second time about the plots against bishop Theodore and about Gundo- 


25. Signs. 

26. Gunthram and Mummolus. 

27. King Chilperic enters Paris. 

28. Marcus the referendary. 

29. The nuns of Poitiers. 

30. Death of the emperor Tiberius. 

31. The many evil deeds that king Chilperic ordered to be done, or did himself, 

in his brother's cities. 

32. Leudast's death. 

33. Locusts, plagues, and prodigies. 

34. Death of Chilperic's son named Theodoric. 


35. Death of the prefect Mummulus and the women who were put to death. 

36. Bishop Etherius. 

37. Killing of Lupentius, abbot of Javols. 

38. Death of bishop Theodosius and his successor. 

39. Death of bishop Remedius and his successor. 

40. My argument with a heretic.^- 

41. King Chilperic retires to Cambrai with his treasures. 

42. Childebert goes to Italy. 

43. The kings of Gallicia. 

44. Various prodigies. 

45. Marriage of Riguntha, Chilperic's daughter. 

46. King Chilperic's death. 



[i. Childebert allies himself with Chilperic instead of with 
Gunthram ; a synod meets at Lyons.] 

2. Meantime king Chilperic's legates, who had gone three 
years before to the emperor Tiberius, returned, but not without 
severe loss and danger. For as they did not dare to enter the 
harbor of Marseilles on account of the quarrels among the kings, 
they made for Agde 1 which is situated in the Gothic kingdom. 
But before they could reach the shore the ship was driven by the 
wind and dashed on the land and broken to fragments. The 
legates and their men, seeing they were in danger, seized planks and 
with difficulty reached the shore, many of the men being lost; 
hut most escaped. The inhabitants took the articles that the 
waves carried ashore, but they recovered the more valuable of them 
and carried them to king Chilperic. The people of Agde never- 
theless kept much. At that time I had gone to the villa of Nogent 
to see the king, and there he showed me a great basin of fifty 
pounds' weight which he had made of gold and gems and he said : 
"I made this to bring honor and glory to the Frankish people. 
And I shall make many more if I live." He showed me also gold 
coins each of a pound's weight sent by the emperor having on one 
side the likeness of the emperor and the inscription in a circle : Tiber ii 
Constantini Perpetui Augusti and on the other a four-horse chariot 
and charioteer with the inscription : Gloria Romanorum. He showed 
me also many other beautiful things brought by the legates. 

[3. The alliance between Chilperic and Childebert is confirmed 
and they agree to take Gunthram's kingdom away from him.] 

4. Now Lupus, duke of Champagne, had long been continually 
harassed and plundered by his enemies and especially by Ursio 

1 West of Marseilles in Septimania. 



and Bertefred. And at length they made an agreement to kill 
him and they marched against him. But queen Brunhilda heard 
of it, and grieving at the unjust attacks on her loyal supporter 
she armed herself like a man and rushed into the midst of the 
opposing forces and cried: "Do not, O warriors, do not do this 
evil ; do not attack the innocent ; do not for one man engage in a 
battle which will destroy the welfare of the district." Ursio an- 
swered her: "Leave us, woman; let it suffice for you to have 
ruled under your husband ; but now your son rules and his king- 
dom will be maintained not by your support but by ours. Leave 
us or our horses' hooves will trample you to the earth." When 
they had continued such talk as this a long time the queen's de- 
termination that they should not fight prevailed. However, on 
leaving that locality they burst into Lupus's houses, seized all his 
property and took it home, pretending they were going to place it 
in the king's treasury, and they threatened Lupus and said: "He 
will never escape alive from our hands." Lupus saw he was in 
danger and, placing his wife in safety within the walls of the city 
of Laon, he fled to king Gunthram, and being welcomed by him he 
remained in hiding, waiting till Childebert should come of age. 

5. While king Chilperic was still at the villa mentioned above, 
he directed his baggage to be moved and made arrangements to 
go to Paris. And when I went to see him to say good-by, a certain 
Jew named Priscus came in who was on friendly terms with him 
and helped him buy costly articles. The king took him by the hair 
in a gentle way and said to me : " Come, bishop of God, and lay 
your hands on him." But he struggled and the king said to him : 
"O obstinate-minded and ever disbelieving race, which does not 
recognize the Son of God promised to it by the voices of its prophets 
and does not recognize the mysteries of the church prefigured in 
its own sacrifices." To these words the Jew replied : "God never 
married nor was blessed with offspring nor allowed any one to share 
his power, but he said by the mouth of Moses: 'See, see that 
I am the Lord and except me there is no God. I shall kill and I 
shall make alive ; I shall wound and I shall heal.' " l . . . Although 
I said this and more, the wretched man felt no remorse and 

1 The argument is continued at length along this line between the Jew on the one 
hand and Chilperic and Gregory on the other. 


refused to believe. Then when he was silent and the king saw 
that he was not conscience stricken because of my words, he 
turned to me and asked to receive my blessing that he might 
depart. He said: "I will say to you, bishop, what Jacob said to 
the angel, for he said to him, ' I will not let you go until you bless 
me." : So saying he ordered water brought for our hands. After 
washing them we prayed, and taking bread I thanked God and 
took it myself and offered it to the king, and after a draught of 
wine I said farewell and left. And the king mounted his horse 
and returned to Paris with his wife and daughter and all his house- 

6. There was at this time in the city of Nice a recluse Hospicius 
who was very abstemious. He wore iron chains next his body 
and over these a hair shirt and ate nothing but plain bread with a 
few dates. And during Lent he lived on roots of Egyptian herbs 
such as the hermits use, which were brought to him by traders. 
First he would drink the soup in which they were cooked and eat 
the roots next day. The Lord did not disdain to work great 
miracles through him. For at one time the Holy Spirit revealed 
to him the coming of the Lombards into the Gauls and he foretold 
it as follows: "The Lombards," said he, "will come into the 
Gauls and will lay waste seven cities because their wickedness has 
grown in the sight of God, since no one understands, no one seeks 
God, no one does good to appease the anger of God. For all the 
people are unfaithful, given up to perjury, addicted to thievery, 
ready to kill, and from them comes no fruit of justice at all. Tithes 
are not paid, the poor are not fed, the naked are not clothed, 
strangers are not received with hospitality or satisfied with food. 
Therefore this affliction has come. And now I say to you : ' Gather 
all your substance within the inclosure of the walls that the Lom- 
bards may not take it, and fortify yourselves in the strongest 
places.' ' At these words all stood gaping and they said good-by 
and returned home with great admiration. He also said to the 
monks : "You, too, depart from the place and take with you what 
you have. For behold, the people I have named draw near." 
But when they replied : "We will not leave you, most holy father," 
he said to them : " Don't fear for me ; for they will offer me insults 
but they will not harm me unto death." The monks went away 


and that people came and laying waste all they found, they came 
to the place where the holy recluse of God was. And he showed 
himself to them at the window of the tower. They went all round 
the tower but could find no entrance by which they could come to 
him. Then two climbed up and pulled the roof off, and seeing 
him bound with chains and clad in a hair shirt they said : "Here is 
a malefactor who has killed a man and therefore is kept bound in 
these fetters." They called an interpreter and asked him what 
crime he had committed to be so confined in punishment. And he 
confessed that he was a homicide and guilty of all crime. Then 
one of them drew his sword to strike at his head, but his lifted 
right arm stiffened in the very act of striking and he could not 
draw it back to him. He let go the sword and let it fall on the 
ground. Seeing this, his comrades raised a shout to heaven beg- 
ging the saint to declare to them kindly what they were to do. 
And he made the sign of salvation and restored the arm to health. 
The man was converted on the spot and received the tonsure and 
is now reckoned a most faithful monk. And two dukes who 
listened to him returned safe to their native place but those who 
despised his command perished wretchedly in the province. Many 
of them were seized with demons and cried: "Why, holy and 
blessed one, do you so torture and burn us?" And he laid his 
hand on them and cured them. After this there was a man of 
Angers who in a severe fever had lost both speech and hearing, 
and when he got better of the fever he continued deaf and dumb. 
Now a deacon was sent from that province to Rome to obtain 
relics of the blessed apostles and other saints who protect that 
city. And when he came to this infirm person's relatives they 
begged him to take him as a companion on the journey, believing 
that if he reached the tombs of the blessed apostles he would forth- 
with be cured. They went on their way and came to the place 
where the blessed Hospicius lived. After greeting and kissing him, 
the deacon told the purpose of his journey and said he was starting 
for Rome and asked the holy man to recommend him to ship- 
captains who were friends of his. And while he was still staying 
there the blessed man felt that power was in him through the spirit 
of the Lord. And he said to the deacon : "I beg you to bring to 
my sight the infirm person who is the companion of your journey." 


The deacon made no delay but went swiftly to his lodging and found 
the infirm person full of fever, and he indicated by signs that there 
was a humming in his ears. The deacon seized him and led him 
to the saint of God. The boly man took hold of hi? hair and drew 
his head into the windc* " nd taking oil that had been blessed, 
he took hold of his tongue with his left hand and poured the oil 
in his mouth and on the top of his head, saying : "In the name of 
my lord Jesus Christ let your ears be opened and let that power 
which once drove a wicked demon from a deaf and dumb man 
open your lips." Having said this, he asked him his name, and 
he answered in a clear voice: "I am called so-and-so." When 
the deacon saw this he said: "I^give thee endless thanks, Jesus 
Christ, who deignest to work such miracles by thy servant. I 
was seeking Peter^ I was^eeking Paul and Laurence and the others 
who made Rome glorious with their blood; here I have found 
them all, I have discovered every one." As he was saying this 
with loud weeping and great admiration the man of God, wholly 
intent on avoiding vanity, said: "Be silent, beloved brother, it 
is not I who do this, but he who created the universe out of noth- 
ing, who took on man for our sake, and gave sight to the blind, 
hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb ; who bestowed on lepers 
the skin they had before, on the dead life, and on all the infirm 
abundant healing." Then the deacon said farewell and departed 
rejoicing with his comrades. When they had gone a certain 
Dominic this was the man's name who had been blind from 
birth, came to prove his miraculous power, and when he had 
dwelt in the monastery two or three months praying and fasting, 
at length the man of God called him to him and said: "Do you 
wish to recover your sight?" And he replied: "I wish to know 
a thing unknown. For I do not know what the light is. Only 
one thing I know, that it is praised by men. But I have not de- 
served to see from the beginning of my life until now," Then 
he made the holy cross over his eyes with oil that had been blessed 
and said: "In the name of Jesus Christ our redeemer let your 
eyes"n5e~ opened." And at once his eyes were opened and 
he wondered and contemplated the great works of God which 
he saw in this world. Then a certain woman who, as she herself 
asserted, had three demons, was brought to him. And he blessed 


her with a sacred touch and made the cross in holy oil on her 
forehead and the demons were driven out and she departed 
cleansed. Moreover he cured by his blessing a girl who was vexed 
with an unclean spirit. And when the day of his death was draw- 
ing nigh he summoned the prior of the monastery and said : "Bring 
iron tools to open the wall and send messengers to the bishop of the 
city to come and bury me. For on the third day I shall depart 
from this world and go to the appointed rest which the Lord has 
promised me." Upon this the prior sent messengers to the bishop 
of Nice to carry this word. After this one Crescens went to his 
window and seeing him bound with chains and full of worms he 
said : "O my master, how can you bear such tortures so bravely ? " 
And he replied: "He comforts me in whose name I suffer this. 
For I tell you that I am now freed from these bonds and am going 
to my rest." When the third day came he laid aside the chains 
by which he was bound and prostrated himself in prayer, and after 
he had prayed and wept a long time he lay down on a bench and 
stretched out his feet and raised his hands to heaven and thanked 
God and died. And immediately all the worms that were boring 
through his holy limbs disappeared. And bishop Austadius came 
and most carefully placed the blessed body in the grave. All 
these things I learned from the lips of the very deaf and dumb 
man who as I related above was healed by him. He told me many 
other miracles of his but I have been kept from describing them 
by the fact that I have been told that his life has been written by 
many persons. 

[7. The bishops of Uzes.] 

8. Ebarchius died also, a recluse of Angouleme, a man of great 
holiness through whom God did many miracles, and leaving out 
most of them I will tell briefly of a few. He was a native of Peri- 
gueux, but after his conversion he entered the clergy and went to 
Angouleme and built a cell for himself. There he gathered a few 
monks and prayed continually, and if any gold or silver was offered 
to him he would pay it out for the necessities of the poor or to 
ransom captives. No bread was baked in that cell while he lived 
but was brought in by the devout when it was needed. He ran- 
somed a great number of people from the offerings of the devout. 
He often cured the poison of malignant pimples by the sign of the 


cross and by prayer drove demons out from the bodies that they 
possessed and with his charming manner often rather ordered than 
requested judges to spare the guilty. For he was so attractive 
in his address that they could not deny him when he asked a favor. 
On one occasion a prisoner who was vehemently accused by the 
inhabitants of many crimes, both thefts and homicides, was to be 
hanged for theft, and when this was reported to Ebarchius he sent 
his monk to entreat the judge to grant life to the guilty man. 
But since the throng insulted the judge and cried loudly that if 
he were let go it would be good neither for the country nor the 
judge, the prisoner could not be let go. Meanwhile he was stretched 
on the wheel, beaten with rods and clubs and condemned to the 
gallows. And when the monk sadly brought the news to the 
abbot he said: "Go, wait at a distance, for, be assured, the Lord 
will grant us of his own gift what man has refused. When you see 
him fall, take him and bring him at once to the monastery." The 
monk went about his bidding and Ebarchius threw himself down 
in prayer and wept and poured forth prayers to God until, the bar 
and chains being broken, the hanged man should be placed on the 
ground. Then the monk took him and brought him safe and well 
to the abbot. And he thanked God and ordered the count sum- 
moned and said to him : "You were always used to hear me kindly, 
beloved son, and why did you harden yourself to-day and refuse 
to let the man go whose life I asked for?" He replied : "I would 
willingly heed you, sacred priest, but the people rose and I could 
do nothing else for fear of a rebellion." The recluse answered: 
"You did not heed me, but God deigned to heed me, and he re- 
stored to life the one whom you gave to death. Behold," said he, 
"he stands alive before you." As he said this the man threw him- 
self at the feet of the count who was astonished that he saw living 
one whom he left dead. This I heard from the lips of the count 
himself. Moreover he did many other miracles which I have 
thought it tedious to relate. After forty-four years as a recluse he 
contracted a fever and died. He was taken forth from his cell 
and buried. And a great assembly of those he had ransomed, as 
we have said, followed his funeral. 

9. Domnolos, bishop of Mans, began to sicken. In the time 
of king Clothar he had been in charge of the monks at the church 


of St. Laurence in Paris. But as he had always been faithful to 
king Clothar while the older Childebert was still living and often 
concealed his messengers when sent to spy, the king was awaiting 
an opportunity to make him bishop. When the bishop of Avignon 
passed away he had purposed to appoint him there. But the 
blessed Domnolus heard of this and came to the church of St. 
Martin where king Clothar had then come for prayer, and after 
spending a whole night in watching, he sent a hint to the king 
through the leading men who were there not to remove him far 
from the king's sight like a captive and not to permit a man of his 
straightforward character to be worn out among sophistical 
senators and philosophizing judges, saying this was a place of 

77 humiliation for him rather than of honor. To this the king as- 
/ / v 

sented, and when Innocentius bishop of Mans died he appointed 

him as bishop of that church. When he had reached this honor 

he conducted himself so that he rose to the summit of holiness and 

~. - ' 

restored the power of walking to a lame man and sight to one who 
was blind. After twenty-two years in his episcopate he perceived 
that he was greatly worn out with the king's evil and gout and he 
selected the abbot Theodulf for his place. The king assented to 
his desire but not long after changed his mind, and the election 
was given to Batechisil the king's major domo. He received the 
tonsure, went through the grades of the clergy in forty days, and 
when the bishop passed away he succeeded him. 

10. In these days thieves broke into St. Martin's church. They 
placed a railing which was on the tomb of a dead man at a window 
of the apse and climbing up by it they broke the glass and entered ; 
and taking a great quantity of gold and silver and silken cloths 

Q^ they went off, not fearing to set foot on the holy tomb where we 
scarcely dare to touch our lips. But the saint's power made this 
foolhardy deed known by a terrible judgment. For after commit- 
ting the crime they went to the city of Bordeaux and a quarrel 
arose and one killed the other; and thus their deed was found 
out and their theft was revealed, and the broken silver and the 
cloths were taken from their lodging. When this was reported 

$p to king Chilperic he ordered them to be bound and brought into 
his presence. Then I was afraid that men would die because of 
him who in his lifetime in the body often prayed for the lives of 


the lost, and sent the king a letter of entreaty not to put these men 
to death since we to whom prosecution belonged did not accuse 
them. And he received my request with kindness and restored 
them to life. And the valuable articles which had been scattered he 
collected very carefully and ordered them sent back to the holy place, 
[n. Dinamius, governor of Provence, and Theodore, bishop of 
Marseilles, quarrel. Childebert supports Theodore and Gunthram 
Dinamius. 12. Chilperic takes advantage of the quarrel and 
seizes Perigueux, Agen, and a number of other cities belonging to 

13. Lupus, a citizen of Tours, having lost wife and children, 
desired to enter the clergy but was prevented by his brother 
Ambrose who was afraid that he would leave his property to the 
church of God if he were joined to it. Ambrose, persuading him 
to his harm, provided him with another wife and appointed the 
day to meet to give the betrothal gifts. Then they went together 
to the town of Chinon where they had a dwelling. But Ambrose's 
wife being an adulteress and loving another with the love of a lewd 
woman and hating her husband, made a plot for him. And when 
these brothers had feasted together and had drunk wine in the 
night until they were intoxicated, they lay down on the same bed. 
Then the adulterer came in the night when all were sleeping heavily 
because of the wine and setting fire to the straw in order to see 
what he was doing, he drew his sword and struck Ambrose on the 
head so that the sword went in at his eyes and cut the pillow in 
two beneath his head. Lupus was aroused by the blow and finding 
himself wallowing in blood, he called in a loud voice saying : "Alas, 
alas ! Help ; my brother is killed." But the adulterer who had 
committed the deed and was now going off, heard this and returned 
to the bed and attacked Lupus. Although he resisted he was 
wounded many times, and overwhelmed and given a mortal stroke 
and left half dead. But no one of the household knew of it. In 
the morning all were amazed at such a crime. Lupus however was 
found to be still alive and after telling the story as it occurred, he 
died. But the harlot did not take a long time to mourn. In a 
few days she joined her adulterer and departed. 

14. In king Childebert's seventh year, which was the twenty- 
first of Chilperic and Gunthram, in the month of January there 


were rains and heavy thunder and lightning ; blossoms appeared on 
the trees. The star which I called above the comet, appeared in 
such a way that there was a great blackness all around it and it 
was placed as it were in a hole and gleamed in the darkness, spar- 
kling and scattering rays of light. And a ray of wonderful size 
extended from it which appeared like the smoke of a great fire a 
long way off. It appeared in the west in the first hour of the 
night. At Soissons on the day of holy Easter the heavens were 
seen to be on fire, and there appeared to be two fires, one 
greater and the other less. And after the space of two hours they 
united and formed a great flame and vanished. In the territory 
of Paris real blood fell from the clouds and dropped on the gar- 
ments of many men and so denied them witk gore that they" 
shuddered at their own clothes and put them away from them. 
This prodigy appeared in three places in the territory of that city. 
In the territory of Senlis a certain man's house when he rose in 
the morning appeared to have been sprinkled with blood from 
within. There was a great plague that year among the people. 
The sickness took various forms and was severe with pimples and 
tumors which brought death to many. Still many who were care- 
ful escaped. We heard that at Narbonne in that year the bubonic 
plague was very fatal, so that when a man was seized by it he 
had no time to live. 

15. Felix, bishop of Nantes, was stricken by this plague and 
began to be seriously sick. Then he called the neighboring bishops 
to him and begged them to give the influence of their signatures to 
the choice which he had made of his nephew Burgundio. Then 
they sent him to me. At that time Burgundio was about twenty- 
five years old. He came and asked that I would consent to go to 
Nantes and give him the tonsure and consecrate him bishofr in 
piace^ofhis unclelifou was stilHrvfgf: This I refusgdjo^do sSice 
llEnew it was not in accordance with the canons. Still I gave him 
advice saying : " We have it written in the canons, my son, that no 
one can rise to the office of bishop unless he first passes through the 
grades of the clergy in regular order. You then, dearly beloved, 
must return thither and request him who has made choice of you, 
to give you the tonsure ; and when you reach the office of priest, 
be regular in attendance at church ; and when God wills that he pass 


away, then you will readily attain to the office of bishop." He 
returned and pretended to take my advice, since the bishop Felix 
seemed to be recovering from his illness. But after the fever de- 
parted his legs burst out in pimples from the humor. Then he 
put on too strong a poultice of cantharides and his legs putrefied 
and he died in the thirty-third year of his episcopate and in the 
seventieth of his life. And Nonnichius his cousin succeeded him 
by the king's order. 

[16. Felix's niece had been married to Pappolenus but Felix 
brought about their separation. Pappolenus now recovered his 
wife from a nunnery.] 

17. King Chilperic ordered many Jews to be baptized that year 
andjreceived a number of Jhem from the sacred fonL Some^oT 
them however were purified in body only, not in heart, and lying 
to Ooffthev returned to their former perfidy so that they could be 
seen to observe the Sabbath as well as honor the Lord's day. But 
Priscus could not be influenced in any way to recognize the truth. 
The king was angry at him and ordered him to be put into prison, in 
the idea that if he did not wish to believe of his own accord he would 
force him to hear and believe. But Priscus offered gifts and asked 
for time until his son should marry a Hebrew girl at Marseilles ; he 
promised deceitfully that he would then do what the king required. 
Meantime a quarrel arose between him and Phatir, one of the 
Jewish converts who was now a godson to the king. And when 
on the Sabbath Priscus clad in an orary and carrying nothing of 
iron in his hand, was retiring to a secret place to fulfill the law of 
Moses, suddenly Phatir came upon him and slew him with the 
sword together with the companions who accompanied him. When 
they were slain Phatir fled with his men to the church of St. Julian 
which was on a neighboring street. While they were there they 
heard that the king had granted to the master his life but ordered 
the men to be dragged like malefactors from the church and put 
to death. Then, their master being already gone, one of them drew 
his sword and killed his comrades and then left the church armed 
with his sword, but the people rushed upon him and he was cruelly 
killed. Phatir obtained permission and returned to Gunthram's 
kingdom whence he had come. But soon after he was killed by 
Priscus's kinsmen. 


[18. Legates returning from Spain report that king Leuvigild 
admits that Christ is the equal of God but denies that the Holy 
Spirit is God at all. 19. Gunthram's men cross the river Orge 
and do damage in Chilperic's territory.] 

20. In that year Chrodinus died, a man of magnificent goodness 
and piety, a great almsgiver and helper of the poor, a lavish enricher 
of churches and supporter of the clergy. For he often started at 
the beginning and cleared estates, laying out vineyards, building 
houses, making fields. And he would then invite bishops who 
were poor and give them a feast and generously distribute among 
them houses with fields and men to till them and silver and bedding 
and utensils and officers and slaves saying : "Let these properties 
be given to the church, that when poor men are supported upon 
them they may obtain pardon for me before God." I have heard 
many other good things of this man which it would take too long to 
tell. He died in his seventieth year. 

[21. List of prodigies.] 

2 2 . King Chilperic having seized cities belonging to his brother, 
appointed new counts and ordered that all the tribute of the cities 
be paid to him. And we know that this was done. In these days 
two men were seized by Nunnichius, count of Limoges, who were 
carrying letters in the name of Charterius, bishop of Perigueux, 
which contained many insults against the king; and among the 
rest it was put as if the bishop were complaining that he had 
gone down from paradise to hell, because forsooth he had been 
transferred from Gunthram's rule to the dominion of Chilperic. 
The count just named sent these letters and these men to the 
king under strict guard. The king patiently sent for the bishop 
to come to his presence to tell whether the charges against him 
were true or not. The bishop came and the king confronted him 
with the men and the letters. He asked the bishop if they had been 
sent by him. He said they had not. The men then were asked 
from whom they had received them. They said it was Frontonius 
the deacon. The bishop was asked about the deacon. He replied 
that he was his greatest enemy and there could be no doubt that 
this was his wickedness since he had often set wicked plots going 
v against him. The deacon was brought at once and questioned by 
the king. He testified against the bishop saying: "It was I 


who wrote this letter at the bishop's order." But the bishop cried 
out and said that this man had often devised clever tricks to cast 
him out from his office, and the king was moved with pity and com- 
mending his cause to God he let them both go, interceding with 
the bishop for the deacon and begging the bishop to pray for him. 
And thus the bishop was sent back with honor to the city. But 
after two months count Nunnichius who started this scandal died 
from an apoplectic stroke and as he was without children his prop- 
erty was granted to several persons by the king. 

[23. On account of the birth of a son king Chilperic releases^ 
prisoners and remits taxes. 24. Gundovald, who claims to be a son 
of Clothar, returns to Gaul from Constantinople and is received by 
bishop Theodore of Marseilles who is thereupon seized and held 
prisoner by king Gunthram. 25. Prodigies. 26. Gunthram Boso 
is charged with bringing Gundovald to Gaul ; he says that Mummo- 
lus is guilty of this and promises to bring him to king Gunthram.] 

26. ... Now duke Gunthram took with him the men of Clermont 
and Le Velay and went off to Avignon. But by a stratagem of 
Mummolus rotten boats were ready for them at the Rhone. They 
embarked on them without suspicion and when they came to the 
middle of the river the boats filled and sank. Then being in danger, 
some escaped by swimming and a number tore planks from the 
Loats and reached the shore. But a good many who had less pres- 
ence of mind were drowned in the river. Duke Gunthram however 
reached Avignon. Now Mummolus on entering the city had seen 
to it that as only a small part was left which was not guarded by 
the Rhone, the whole place should be protected by a channel into 
which he led water from the river. Here he had dug holes of great 
depth and running water concealed the traps he had made. Then 
upon the coming of Gunthram Mummolus cried from the wall : 
''Since we are men of good faith, let him come to one bank and I 
to the other, and let him say what he wants." When they had come 
Gunthram said from the other side it was this arm of the river that 
was between them "If you please I will cross, because there are 
some things to speak of in secret." Mummolus answered : " Come, 
don't be afraid." Thereupon he entered the water with one of his 
friends he was wearing a heavy coat of mail and immediately 
when they reached the hole in the river the friend sank under the 


water and did not reappear. But while Gunthram was under 
water and being carried along by the swift current one of the by- 
standers stretched out a spear to his hand and brought him ashore. 
And then he and Mummolus abused one another before leaving 
the place. While Gunthram was besieging this city with king 
Gunthram's army the news was taken to Childebert. He was 
angry because Gunthram was doing this without being ordered and 
sent Gundulf whom I have mentioned before to the place. He 
put an end to the siege and took Mummolus to Clermont. But 
after a few days he returned to Avignon. 

JL, 27. Chilperic went to Paris the day before Easter was celebrated, 
and to avoid the curses contained in the compact, between him and 
his brothers that no one of them should enter Paris without the 
consent of the others, the relics of many saints were carried before 
him as he entered the city, and he spent Easter amid great mirth, 
and gave his son to be baptized, and Ragnemod, bishop of the city, 
received him from the holy font. Chilperic directed them to call 
him Theodoric. 

[28. Marcus the referendary dies, first receiving the tonsure. 
29. The piety of the nuns of Poitiers is described. As the result 
of a vision one of them acted as follows :] 

^ When the maiden had had this vision she was contrite in heart 
and after a few days she asked the abbess to get ready a cell in 
which she could be shut. The abbess got it ready quickly and said : 
"Here is the cell. What more do you wish?" The maiden asked 
to be permitted to be shut in it. This was granted, and the nuns 
gathered with loud psalm-singing and the lamps were lighted and 
she was conducted to the place, the blessed Radegunda holding 
her hand. And so she said farewell to all and kissed each one and 
became a recluse. And the entrance by which she went in was 
walled up and she is there now spending her time in prayer and 

[30. The emperor Tiberius dies and Mauritius succeeds him.] 

31. King Chilperic received legates from his nephew Childebert 

* and among them the leader was Egidius, bishop of Rheims. On 

being brought before the king they presented their letter and said : 

"Our master your nephew begs you to keep with especial care the 

peace you have made with him since he cannot have peace with 


your brother, who took away his share of Marseilles after his father's 
death and retains fugitives and is not willing to send them back. 
Therefore your nephew Childebert wishes to preserve unbroken 
the friendship which he now has with you." Chilperic replied: 
"My brother has proven guilty in many particulars. For if my 
son Childebert would seek the path of reason, he would know at 
once that it was by my brother's connivance that his father was 
killed." Upon this bishop Egidius said : " If you would join with 
your nephew and he with you and take the field, due vengeance would 
be speedily visited on him." When they had sworn to this agree- 
ment and exchanged hostages, they departed. Then relying on 
these promises Chilperic set the army of his kingdom in motion 
and went to Paris. And on encamping there he brought great 
expense to the inhabitants. And duke Berulf went with the people 
of Tours, Poitiers, Angers, and Nantes to the boundary of Bourges. . 
And Desiderius and Bladast with all the army of their province 
hemmed in the territory of Bourges on the other side, completely' 
devastating the country through which they came. And Chilperic"' 
ordered the army which had come to him to pass through the 
territory of Paris. And when they passed through, he passed also 
and went to the town of Melun, burning and wasting all. And 
although his nephew's army did not come to him, still his dukes 
and legates were with him. Then he sent messengers to the 
dukes just mentioned and said: " Enter the territory of Bourges 
and go right to the city and demand the oath of fidelity in my 
name." But the people of Bourges gathered at the town of 
Chateaumeillant to the number of fifteen thousand and there 
fought duke Desiderius, and there was great slaughter there so 
that more than seven thousand from each army fell. And the 
dukes went to the city with the people who were left, plundering 
and devastating all. And such marauding was done there as was 
never heard of in old times, so that no house nor vineyard nor tree 
was left, but they cut, burned, and subdued all. Moreover they 
carried the sacred utensils from the churches and burned the churches 
with fire. But king Gunthram went with an army against his 
brother, placing all his hope in the judgment of God. And one 
evening he sent his army and destroyed a great part of his brother's 
army. In the morning legates went to and fro and they made 


peace, promising one another that each would pay for what he had 
r done beyond the limit of the law whatever the bishops and leaders 
, of the people should decide. And so they parted peaceably. And 
when king Chilperic could not keep his army from plundering he 
slew the count of Rouen with the sword and thus returned to Paris, 
leaving all the booty and giving up the captives. And the besiegers 
of Bourges, on receiving orders to return home, took with them so 
much plunder that all the district they left was believed to be 
emptied of men and domestic animals. The army of Desiderius 
and Bladast went through the land of Tours and burned, plundered, 
and slew, as is the custom with enemies, and they took captives, 
the most of whom they spoiled and afterwards let go. There fol- 
lowed upon this disaster a disease among domestic animals so that 
scarcely enough remained to make a start with, and it was strange 
if any one saw an ox or heifer. While this went on king Childe- 
bert remained with his army in one place. AncUme night the army 
mutinied and the lesser people raised a great murmur against 
bishop Egidius and the king's .dukes, and began to cry aloud and 
shout in public, saying : "Let those be thrust from the presence of 
the king who sell his kingdom, give over his cities to the dominion 
of another, and betray his people to the rule of another prince." 
While they continued shouting such things the morning came, and 
they seized their armor and hastened to the king's tent in order 
to seize the bishop and leaders and crush them by force and beat 
and wound them. On learning of this the bishop fled on horseback 
and hastened to his own city. Arid the people pursued him hurling 
stones and shouting-abuse. And he was saved by the fact that they 
had no horses reajdy. The bishop outstripped his companions' 
horses and hastened on alone so terrified that when one shoe 
dropped off he did not stop to put it on. And so he arrived at 
his city and shut himself within the walls of Rheims. 

32. A few months earlier Leudast had come to Tours with the 

king's command to take his wife back and dwell there. Moreover 

*he brought me a letter signed by the bishops directing that he be 

admitted to the communion again. But since I saw no letter from 

the queen, on whose account especially he hadjbeen excommum- 

cated, I put off admitting him and said: "When I receive the 

queen's command then I will not delay to admit him." Meantime 


I sent to her and she wrote back saying : "I was urged by many 
and could not help letting him go. But now I ask you not to be 
reconciled to him nor give him the holy bread from your hand until 
I consider more fully what I ought to do." But when I read this 
letter over I was afraid he would be killed, and sending for his 
brother-in-law I made it known to him and asked that Leudast be 
careful until the queen should relent. But he received with suspi- 
cion the advice which I gave frankly in God's sight, and since 
he was my enemy he refused to do what I ordered, and the proverb 
was fulfilled which I once heard an old man mention: "Always 
give good advice to friend and foe because the friend takes it 
and the foe despises it." And so he despised this advice and went 
to the king, who was then at Melun with his army, and he entreated 
the people to beg the king to see him. So when all made entreaty 
the king gave him a hearing. Leudast threw himself at his feet 
and begged for pardon, and the king replied to him : "Be on guard 
yet for a little while until I see the queen and make arrangement 
as to how you are to return into favor with her." But he was 
reckless and foolish and was confident because he had had a hearing 
before the king, and when the king returned to Paris he threw him- 
self at the queen's feet in the holy church on the Lord's day and 
asked for pardon. But she was furious and cursed the sight of 
him and drove him away and said, bursting into tears : "I have no 
sons living to avenge the slander against me and I leave it to you, 
Lord Jesus, to avenge." And she threw herself at the king's feet 
and added : "Woe is me that I see my enemy and do not prevail 
over him." Then Leudast was driven from the holy place and 
the mass was celebrated. The king and queen returned from the 
holy church and Leudast went to the square having no idea what 
was going to happen to him ; he went around the traders' houses, 
examined their costly wares, tested the weight of the silver articles 
and looked at various ornaments, saying: "I'll buy this and this 
because I still have much gold and silver." As he was saying this 
the queen's servants came suddenly and wished to bind him with 
chains. But he drew his sword and struck one of them. Then 
in a rage they seized their swords and shields and rushed at him. 
And one of them dealt a stroke that took hair and skin off a great 
part of his head. And as he fled across the city bridge his foot 


slipped between two planks of the bridge and his leg was broken 
and he was taken. His hands were tied behind his back and he 
was put in prison. The king ordered the physicians to attend him 
in order that when cured of his wounds he might be executed with 
prolonged torture. He was taken to one of the estates of the fisc 
but his wounds putrefied and he was dying when the queen ordered 
him to be laid on the ground on his back. Then a great bar of 
iron was placed under his neck and they struck his throat with 
another. And so after living an always perfidious life he died a 
just death. 

[33. List of prodigies. 34. Death of Chilperic's infant son 

35. In the meantime the queen was told that the boy who had 
died had been taken away by evil arts and enchantments, and that 
Mummolus the prefect, whom the queen had long hated, had a 
share in the death of her son Theodoric. And it happened that 
while Mummolus was dining at home one from the king's court 
complained that a boy whom he loved had been attacked by 
dysentery. And the prefect said to him : "I have an herb at hand 
a draught of which will soon cure a sufferer from dysentery no 
matter how desperate the case." This was reported to the queen 
and she was the more enraged. Meantime she apprehended some 
women of Paris and plied them with tortures and strove to force 
them by blows to confess what they knew. And they admitted 
that they practised magic and testified that they had caused many 
to die, adding what I do not allow any one to believe : " We gave 
your son, O Queen, in exchange for Mummolus the prefect's life." 
Then the queen used severer torture on the women and caused some 
to be drowned and delivered others over to fire, and tied others to 
wheels where their bones were broken. And then she retired with 
the king to the villa of Compiegne and there disclosed to him what 
she had heard of the prefect. The king sent his men and ordered 
him summoned, and after examining him they loaded him with chains 
and subjected him to torture. He was hung to a beam with his 
hands tied behind his back and there asked what he knew of the 
evil arts, but he confessed nothing of what we have told above. 
Nevertheless he told how he had often received from these women 
ointments and potions to secure for him the favor of the king and 


queen. Now when released from torture, he called a reader and 
said to him : "Tell my master the king that I feel no ill effect of 
the tortures inflicted on me." Hearing this the king said: 
"Is it not true that he practises evil arts if he has not been harmed 
by these tortures?" Then he was stretched on the wheel and 
beaten with triple thongs until his torturers were wearied out. 
Then they put splinters under his finger and toe nails. And when 
it had come to this, that the sword hung over him to cut his head 
off, the queen obtained his life ; but a disgrace not less than death 
followed. Everything was taken from him and he was put on a 
rough wagon and sent to his birthplace, the city of Bordeaux. 
But on the way he had a stroke of apoplexy and was scarcely able 
to reach his destination. And not long after he died. 

Then the queen took all the boy had owned, both garments and 
costly articles, whether of silk or wool, all she could find, and burned 
them. They say there were four wagon-loads. She had the 
things of gold and silver melted in a furnace that nothing might 
remain as it was to recall the sad memory of her son. 

[36. Difficulties of ^Etherius, bishop of Lisieux, with a dissolute 
priest and how he finally triumphed. 37. Abbot Lupentius is 
falsely accused, tortured, and murdered by Count Innocent. 38. 
Count Innocent becomes bishop of Rodez. 39. Sulpicius be- 
comes bishop of Bourges. 40. Theological argument between 
Gregory and a Spanish legate. 41. Chilperic retires to Cambrai. 
42. Childebert receives money from the emperor to drive the 
Lombards out of Italy but fails to do so. 43. Events in Spain. 
44. List of prodigies.] 

45. Meantime the first of September came and a great embassy 
of Goths came to king Chilperic. He had now returned to Paris. 
He ordered many households of slaves to be taken from his estates 
and placed on the wagons ; many too who wept and refused to go 
he ordered to be put under guard, in order to send them more easily 
with his daughter. They say that many in their grief hanged them- 
selves, fearing they would be taken from their kinsmen. Son was 
separated from father, mother from daughter, and they departed 
with loud outcries and curses. There was such a wailing in the 
city of Paris that it was compared with the wailing of Egypt. 
Many of the older men who were forced to go made their wills and 


left their property to the churches, and requested that when the 
girl had entered the Spains the wills should be opened at once as 
if they were already buried. 

Meantime legates came to Paris from king ChiLdebert and warned 
king Chilperic not to take anything from the cities he held that be- 
longed to the realm of Childebert's father, [or present his daughter 
with the treasures in any of them] or dare to touch the slaves or 
horses or yokes of oxen or anything in them. They say that one 
of these legates was secretly killed, but it was not known by whom ; 
still suspicion turned to the king. King Chilperic promised that 
he would touch nothing from these cities, and invited the Frankish 
nobles and the rest who had sworn fealty and celebrated his 
daughter's marriage. She was given over to the legates of the 
Goths and he gave her great treasures. Moreover her mother 
presented her with a great quantity of gold and silver and garments, 
so that when the king saw it he thought he had nothing left. The 
queen noticed he was provoked and she turned to the Franks and 
said: "Do not think, men, that I have anything here from the 
treasures of previous kings ; for all that you see is taken from my 
own property, since the most glorious king has given me much 
and I have gathered a good deal by my own labor, and I have 
made great gains from houses granted to me, both from the revenues 
and the tribute. Moreover you have often enriched me with your 
gifts, and from these sources comes all that you see before you, 
for there is nothing here from the public treasures." And thus the 
king's mind was deceived. 

There was such a multitude of things that it took fifty wagons 
to carry the gold and silver and other ornaments. The Franks 
offered many gifts, some gold, others silver, many horses or gar- 
ments ; each gave such a gift as he could. Finally the girl said 
farewell after tears and kisses and when she was going out of the 
gate a wagon axle broke and all said: "Mala hora," which was 
taken by some as an augury. So she went forth from Paris and 
ordered the tents pitched at the eighth milestone from the city. 
And fifty men rose in the night and took a hundred of the best 
horses with golden bridles and two great chains and fled to king 
Childebert. Moreover along the whole way when any one could 
escape, he fled, taking whatever he could lay hands on. Abundant 


supplies at the expense of the different cities were gathered along 
the way; in this the king ordered that nothing should be taken 
from his own treasury but all from the contributions of the poor. 
And as the king was suspicious that his brother or nephew would 
prepare some ambush against the girl on the way, he directed that 
she should be guarded by an army. Great warriors were with her, 
duke Bobo, Mummolinus's son, with his wife as attendant on the 
bride, Domigisel and Ansovald and the major-domo Waddo who 
had once been count of Saintes, and also about four thousand 
common soldiers. The rest of the dukes and chamberlains who 
started with her turned back at Poitiers. The others journeyed 
on as they could. And on this journey such spoils and booty were 
taken as can scarcely be described. For they robbed the huts of 
the poor, wasted the vineyards, cutting off the vines and carrying 
them away grapes and all, taking domestic animals and whatever 
they could come upon and leaving nothing along their road, and 
the words that were spoken through Joel the prophet were fulfilled : 
"That which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; 
and that which the cankerworm hath left, hath the caterpillar 
eaten ; and that which the caterpillar hath left, hath the palmer- 
worm eaten." This is what happened on this occasion. What 
was left by frost the storm destroyed, what was left by the storm 
the drought destroyed, and what was left by the drought the host 
carried away. 

46. While they continued on their way with this plunder, 
Chilperic, the Nero and Herod of our time, went to his villa of 
Chelles about one hundred stades distant from Paris and there 
hunted. One day, returning from the hunt in the dusk, when he 
was dismounting from his horse and had one hand on a slave's 
shoulder a certain one came and stabbed him with a dagger under 
the armpit and repeating the blow pierced his belly. A flood of 
blood issued at once from his mouth and the open wounds and put 
his wicked soul to flight. The narrative before this shows how 
iniquitous he was. For he frequently laid great districts waste 
and burned them over, and experienced no pain in this but rather 
joy, like Nero before him when he recited tragedies as the palace 
burned. He often punished men unjustly because of their wealth. 
Very jejg-clerics in his time reached the office of bishop, t He was 


given over to gluttony and his belly was his god. He used to say 
that no one was wiser than he. He wrote two books on the model 
of Sedulius, but their feeble little verses can't stand on their feet at 
all, since for lack of understanding he put short syllables for long 
ones and long for short. He wrote pamphlets also and hymns and 
masses which can in no wise be received./ He hated the causes of 

the poor. He was always^lasphermng the_bishops of Jh 
and when he was in retirement he belittled and ridiculed no one 
more than the bishops of the churches. He called this one light- 
headed, that one vain, another lavish, another wanton, another 
conceited, another pompous. EJe hated nothing more than 
churches. For he often used to say: " Behold our treasury has 
rejnained poor, behold our wealth has gone. to the churches, no one 
reigns jThot the^fejfihApg ; fl\jf ftpw-wilt pffpsfr and be transferred 
to the bishops of the cities." Gojn^oninjhis way hejgould always 
break wills that were_ made in favor of churches and he trampled 
under foot the last directions of his own father, thinking that there 
was no one left to require the execution of his will. As to lust and 
wantonness nothing can be found in thought that he did not realize 
in deed. And he was always looking for new devices to injure the 
people and of late years if he found any one guilty he would order 
his eyes torn out. And in the directions he sent to his judges to 
secure his own advantages he would add this: "If any one disre- 
gards our orders let him be punished by having his eyes torn out." 
He never loved any one sincerely and was loved by no one, and 
therefore when he died all his people deserted him. But Mallulf 
bishop of Senlis, who had been sitting in his tent three days and 
had been unable to see him, came when he heard he was killed, 
and washed him and put on better garments, and spent the night 
singing hymns, and took him in a boat and buried him in the 
church of St. Vincent which is at Paris, leaving queen Fredegunda 
in the cathedral. 



1. Death of the holy bishop Salvius. 

2. Fighting between men of Chartres and of Orleans. 

3. Killing of Vidast, named also Avus. 

4. Fredegunda takes refuge in a church; her treasures that were taken to 


5. King Gunthram goes to Paris. 

6. The same king takes control of Charibert's kingdom. 

7. Childebert 's legates demand Fredegunda. 

8. The king requests the people not to kill him as [they had] his brothers. 

9. Riguntha's treasures are taken away and she is held prisoner by Desiderius. 
10. Gundovald is made king ; about Riguntha, king Chilperic's daughter. 

^y The signs which appeared. 

12. The burning of the country about Tours and St. Martin's miracle. 

13. The burning and plundering of Poitiers. 

14. King Childebert's legates are sent to prince Gunthram. 

15. Fredegunda's wickedness. 

16. Bishop Praetextatus's return. 

17. Bishop Promotus. 

1 8. What was said to the king to put him on his guard against being killed. 

19. The queen is ordered to retire to a villa. 

20. How she sent a man to assassinate Brunhilda. 

21. Eberulf s flight and how he was watched. 

22. His wickedness. 

23. A Jew with his attendants is killed. 

24. The plundering of Poitiers. 

25. The despoiling of Marileif. 

26. Gundovald goes the round of his cities. 

27. The wrong done to bishop Magnulf. 

28. Advance of the army. 

29. Killing of Eberulf. 

30. Gundovald's legates. 

31. The relics of the holy martyr Sergius. 

32. Other legates of Gundovald. 

33. Childebert visits his uncle Gunthram. 

34. Gundovald retires to Comminges. 

35. The church of St. Vincent the martyr at Agen is plundered. 



36. The conversation between Gundovald and the soldiers. 

37. The attack on the city. 

38. The killing of Gundovald. 

39. The killing of bishop Sagittarius and Mummolus. 

40. Mummolus's treasures. 

41. A giant. 

42. A miracle of St. Martin. 

43. Desiderius and Waddo. 

44. The woman with a spirit of divination. 

45. The famine in this year. 

46. Death of Christofor. 

47. Civil war among the citizens of Tours. 



i. Though it is my desire to continue the history which the 
previous books have left untold, still affection requires me first to 
tell somewhat concerning the death of the blessed Salvius, who, as 
is well known, died in this year. 1 As he himself was wont to relate 
he continued for a long time in the secular garb and with secular 
judges devoted himself to worldly cases, but yet he never entangled 
himself in the passions in which the mind of the young is usually 
involved. And finally when the odor of the divine breath had 
touched his inward parts, he left the warfare of the world and 
sought a monastery, and being even then devoted to godliness he 
understood that it was better to be poor with the fear of God than 
to pursue the gains of the perishing world. In this monastery he 
continued a long time under the rule established by the fathers. 
And when he had reached a more mature strength both of under- 
standing and of life, the abbot who was over this monastery died 
and he took up the task of feeding the flock; and whereas he 
should have shown himself more commonly among his brethren 
for their correction, after he had attained this honor he was more 
retiring ; and so he sought for himself a more secluded cell ; now 
in the former, as he himself told, he had changed the skin of his 
body more than nine times, from scourging himself with too great 
determination. Then after receiving the office, while he devoted 
himself to prayer and reading, contented with this abstinence, he 
kept considering whether it was better for him to be hidden among 
the monks or to take the name of abbot among the people. Why 
say more ? He said farewell to his brethren and they to him, and 
was immured. While thus immured he continued in all abstinence 
more than before ; and in his love of charity he sought when any 
strangers came to bestow his prayers on them and administer the 

1 Salvius died Sept. 10, 584. Chilperic's death which closes Book VI occurred in 584. 



grace of the blessed bread abundantly, which brought sound 
health to many who were infirm. And once he lay panting on his 
bed worn out by a high fever, and behold his cell was suddenly 
brightened by a great light and quivered. And he lifted his hands 
to heaven and breathed out his spirit while giving thanks. With 
mingled cries of mourning the monks and his mother took the dead 
man's body out [of the cell], washed and clothed it and placed it 
on a bier and spent the night in weeping and singing psalms. In 
thejnoming while preparations for _the_ funeral went on the bod^ 
begaji_-tp^move on~ThlTT)ier. And behoid_Jiis~ cheeETjegained 
color and, as~^ToTiseJfrom a deep sleep, he stirred and opened his 
eyes^ and lit tedhis hands md_j>ajd_: "Merciful God, why has't 

since Thy mercy in heaven better for me than vile life 
in this world/* His~~people were wonderstruck and asked what 
such a prodigy could mean, but he made no answer to their ques- 
tions. He rose from the bier, feeling no harm from the painful 
experience he had suffered, and continue^ f or three days without 
thesupport of food or drink. On the third day he called the 
monks and his mother and said: "Listen, dear ones, and under- 
stand that what you look upon in this world is nothing but it is 
like the prophet Solomon's song, 'All is vanity.' Happy is he 
who can live in the world so as to deserve to see the glory of God 
in heaven." Having said this he began to doubt whether to say 
more or be silent. When he said no more he was beset by the 
entreaties of his brethren to tell what he had seen, and he went 
on: "Four days ago when my cell quivered and you saw me 
lifeless, I was seized by two angels and carried up to the high 
heavens, so that I thought I had under my feet not only this filthy 
world but the sun also, and the moon, the clouds and the stars. 
Then I was taken through a door brighter than this light into that 
dwelling in which all the pavement was like shining gold and 
silver, a brightness and spaciousness beyond description, and 
such a multitude of both sexes was there that the length and breadth 
of the throng could not be seen. A way wa's made for me through 
the press by the angels who guided me, and we came to a place 
which I had already seen from a distance; a cloud hung over it 
brighter than any light, in which no sun or moon or star could be 


seen, but excelling all these it gleamed more brightly than the 
light of nature, and a voice came out of the cloud like a voice of 
many waters. Then I, a sinner, was humbly greeted by men in 
priestly and worldly dress who, my guides told me, were martyrs 
and confessors whom we worship here with the greatest reverence. 
I stood where I was bidden and a very sweet odor enveloped me 
so that I was refreshed by this sweetness and up to the present 
have wanted no food or drink. And I heard a voice saying : 'Let 
him return to the world since he is necessary to our churches.' 
It was only the voice that was heard, for it could not be seen who 
spoke. And I threw myself on the pavement and said with loud 
weeping : ' Alas, Alas, Lord, why didst Thou show me this if I 
was to be deprived of it. Behold to-day Thou wilt cast me out 
from Thy face to return to the sinful world and never be able to 
return here again. I beseech Thee, Lord, not to take Thy mercy 
from me but permit me to stay here and not fall thither and perish.' 
And the voice which spoke to me said : ' Go in peace, for I am 
your keeper until I bring you back to this place.' Then I was 
left alone by my companions and departed weeping by the gate 
by which I entered and returned here." When he had said this 
and all present were wonderstruck, God's saint began to weep and 
say : " Woe is me who have dared to reveal such a mystery. For 
the pleasant odor which I brought from the holy place, by which 
I have been supported the last three days without eating or drinking, 
has gone. My tongue too is covered with grievous sores and swollen 
so that it seems to fill the whole of my mouth. And I know that 
it was not well pleasing to my Lord God to make these secrets 
known. But Thou knowest, Lord, that I did this in simplicity 
of heart, not in boastfulness. I beg Thee, be kind and do not 
abandon me, according to Thy promise." After this he said no 
more and took food and drink. Now as I write this I am afraid 
that some reader may not believe it, according to what Sallust the 
historian says: "When you speak of the virtue and fame of good 
men each calmly believes what he thinks it easy for himself to do ; 
beyond that he considers it falsely invented." For I call all-pow- 
erful God to witness that I learned from his own lips all that I 
have told. A long time after, the blessed man was taken from his 
cell, chosen bishop, and ordained against his will. And when he 


was, I think, in his tenth year as bishop, the plague grew worse in 
Albi, and the greatest part of the people had now died and few of 
the citizens remained, but the blessed man, like a good shepherd, 
never consented to leave the place, but he continually urged those 
who were left to devote themselves to prayer and to keep watch 
continually and to be engaged always in good works and profitable 
thought, saying: "Do this so that if God wishes you to go from 
this world you can enter not into judgment but into rest." And 
when by God's revelation, as I suppose, he recognized the time of 
his calling, he made himself a tomb and washed his body and 
clothed it ; and thus always intent upon heaven he breathed out 
his blessed spirit. He was a man of great holiness and not greedy 
at all ; he never wished to possess gold. If he took it under com- 
pulsion he at once paid it out to the poor. In his time when Mum- 
molus the patrician took many captives from that city he followed 
him and ransomed them all. And the Lord gave him such favor 
with that people that the very men who took the captives made 
him concessions in the price and also gave him gifts. And so he 
restored the captives taken from his country to their former 
liberty. I have heard many good things about this man, but as 
I desire to return to the history I have undertaken I pass them 
over for the most part. 

2. Now when Chilperic had died and had found the death he 
had long been looking for, the men of Orleans united with those of 
Blois made an attack on the people of Chateaudun and defeated 
them, taking them off their guard ; they burned their houses and 
crops and whatever they could not carry away conveniently, and 
they plundered flocks and herds and carried off all that was not 
fast. Upon their departure the men of Chateaudun with the rest 
of the men of Chartres pursued them closely and treated them in 
the same way as they were treated, leaving nothing in their houses 
or outside their houses or of their houses. And while they were 
still abusing one another and raging, and the men of Orleans were 
ready to fight the men of Chartres, the counts intervened and at a 
hearing before them peace was made, on condition that on the 
day when court was to be held the side which had flamed out 
wrongfully against the other should make payment according to 
justice. And thus the war was ended. 


[3. Vidast is slain in a quarrel with the Saxon Childeric, who 
settles for it by a payment to Vidast's sons. 4. Fredegunda takes 
refuge in a church. Childebert gets some of her treasures. 5. 
Fredegunda invites Gunthram to take Chilperic's kingdom and 
become guardian to her son. He goes to Paris. Childebert also 
approaches the city.] 

6. When the people of Paris refused to admit Childebert he 
sent legates to king Gunthram, saying: "I know, most righteous 
father, that it is not unknown to your goodness how up to the 
present time the enemy has defrauded us both so that neither of 
us could find justice for what was due him. Therefore I humbly 
beg you now to keep the agreement that was made between us after 
my father's death." Then king Gunthram said to the legates : 
"O wretches, always faithless, you have no truth in you and you 
do not stick to your promises ; behold, you failed in all your prom- 
ises to me and entered into a new compact with king Chilperic to 
drive me from my kingdom and divide my cities between you. 
Here is your compact; here are your very signatures by which 
you connived together. With what face do you now ask me to 
receive my nephew Childebert whom you wished to make my 
enemy by your perversity?" To which .the legates said: "If 
you are so possessed with anger as not to keep your promises to 
your nephew, at least cease taking what is due to him from Chari- 
bert's kingdom." But he replied: "Here is the agreement en- 
tered into with my brothers that whoever entered Paris without 
his brother's consent should lose his part, and Polioctus the martyr 
and Hilarius and Martin the confessors were to be his judges and 
punishers. After this my brother Sigibert entered, who died by 
the judgment of God and lost his part. So did Chilperic. Now 
they lost their parts by these wrongdoings. Therefore since they 
have died by the judgment of God in accordance with the curses 
in the compact, I will subject all Charibert's kingdom with its 
treasures to my rule by right of law, nor will I grant anything to 
any one from it except of my own free will. Away with you then, 
you everlasting liars and traitors, and take this word to your 

7. They departed, but legates came again from Childebert to 
the king I have mentioned, demanding queen Fredegunda, and 


saying: "Give up that murderess who strangled my aunt 1 and 
killed my father and uncle and also slew my cousins with the 
sword." But he answered : "In the court which we hold we decide 
everything and consider what ought to be done." For he was 
supporting Fredegunda and used often to invite her to dinner, 
promising that he would be her strongest defender. And one day 
when they were dining together the queen rose and said farewell 
but was detained by the king, who said: "Eat something more." 
But she replied : "Pardon me, pray, my lord, for according to the 
custom of women I must rise because of having conceived." Upon 
hearing this he was amazed, knowing that it was the fourth month 
since she had borne a son, but he permitted her to rise. Now the 
leading men of Chilperic's kingdom, like Ansoald and the rest, 
gathered about his son, who, as we have stated, was four months 
old and was named Clothar, and they exacted oaths in the cities 
that formerly looked to Chilperic to be faithful to king Gunthram 
and his nephew Clothar. And king Gunthram by process of 
justice restored all that king Chilperic's followers had wrongfully 
taken from various sources, and he himself gave much to the 
churches, and he gave effect to the wills of the dead which had 
contained bequests to churches and had been broken by Chilperic, 
and he was generous to many and gave much to the poor. 

8. But inasmuch as he had no trust in the men among whom 
he had come, he guarded himself with armed men, and never 
went to church or to the other places he took pleasure in visiting 
without a strong guard. And so one Lord's day, when the deacon 
had called for silence among the people for the hearing of the mass, 
the king rose and addressed the people: "I adjure you, men and 
women who are present, to think it worth while to keep unbroken 
faith with me, and not to kill me as you lately did my brothers, 
and to allow me for three years at least to help my nephews who 
have become my adopted sons. For it may perchance happen 
if I die while they are little that you will perish at the same 
time may the eternal Deity not allow it since there will be 
no one of our family strong enough to protect you." When 
he said this all the people poured forth prayers to the Lord for 
the king. 

1 Galsuenta. See p. 90. 


9. While this was going on, Riguntha, king Chilperic's daugh- 
ter, arrived at Toulouse with the treasures described above. And 
seeing she was now near the Gothic boundary she began to contrive 
excuses for delay, and her people told her also that she ought to 
remain there for a time since they were wearied with the journey 
and their clothing was rough, their shoes torn, and the harness and 
carriages which had been brought on wagons were not yet put 
together. They ought first to make all these preparations with 
care and then set out on the journey and be received in all elegance 
by her betrothed, and not be laughed at by the Goths if they 
appeared among them in a rough condition. While they were 
delaying for these reasons, Chilperic's death was reported to duke 
Desiderius. And he gathered his bravest men and entered Tou- 
louse and finding the treasures took them from the queen's control 
and put them in a certain house sealed up and under the guard of 
brave men, and he allowed the queen a scanty living until she should 
return to the city. 

[10. Gundovald is proclaimed king. n. A list of prodigies 
pointing to Gundovald 's death. 12. Tours is forced to become 
subject to Gunthram. 13. Poitiers also comes under Gunthram's 

14. Now when court was held, bishop Egidius, Gunthram 
Boso, Sigivald, and many others were sent by king Childebert to 
king Gunthram, and they went in to him and the bishop said : 
"Most righteous king, we thank the all-powerful God that he has 
restored you after many toils to your own land and kingdom." 
And the king said to him: "Yes, it is to the King of kings and 
Lord of lords who in his mercy thought it right to accomplish this, 
that due thanks should be given. For it is certainly not to you, 
by whose treacherous counsel and perjuries my land was burned 
over a year ago ; you never kept good faith with any man ; your 
crooked dealing appears everywhere ; it is not a bishop but an 
enemy of my kingdom that you show yourself to be." At these 
words the bishop, though enraged, was silent. But one of the 
legates spoke: "Your nephew Childebert begs you to order the 
cities which his father held to be given back to him." At this he 
replied : "I told you before that our compacts give them to me 
and therefore I refuse to restore them." Another of the legates 


said: "Your_nephew asks you to order the jsprceress Fredegunda, 
through whom many kings have been killed, to be surrendered to 
him, so that he can avenge the death of his father, uncle 
and cousins/' "She shall not be given into his power," said Gun- 
thram, "because she has a son who is king. Besides I do not 
believe that what you say against her is true." Then Gunthram 
Boso approached the king as if he were going to make some request. 
But since it had been certainly reported that he had raised Gundo- 
vald up as king, Gunthram spoke before him and said: "You 
enemy of my country and kingdom, who went a few years ago to 
the East for the express purpose of bringing Ballomer" so he 
used to call Gundovald "into my kingdom, you who are always 
treacherous and never perform what you promise." Gunthram 
Boso replied: "You are lord and king and sit on a royal throne 
and no one ventures to make answer to what you say. Now I say 
that I am innocent of this charge. And if there is any one of my 
rank who secretly makes this charge against me, let him come now 
openly and make it. Then, most righteous king, I will leave it to 
the judgment of God to decide when he sees us fighting on a level 
field." At this all were silent and the king added : "All ought to 
be eager to drive from our territories an adventurer whose father 
was a miller ; and to tell the truth his father was in charge of the 
combs and wove wool." And although it is possible for one man 
to be master of two trades, still one of them answered in ridicule of 
the king : "Therefore, as you say, this man had two fathers at the 
same time, one a worker in wool, the other a miller. Fie on you, 
king, to say such an outlandish thing. For it is an unheard of 
thing that one man should have two fathers at the same time 
except in a spiritual sense." Then they laughed without restraint 
and another legate said : "We bid you good-by, O king. Although 
you have refused to restore your nephew's cities we know that 
the ax is still safe that was driven into your brothers' heads. It 
will soon strike yours." Thus they went off in a quarrelsome 
spirit. Then the king, inflamed at their insults, ordered his men 
to throw on their heads as they went rotted horse-dung, chips, 
hay and straw covered with filth, and the stinking refuse from the 
city. And they were badly fouled and went off amid unmeasured 
insult and abuse. 


15. While queen Fredegunda was living in the church at 
Paris, Leonard, formerly an officer of the household, who then 
came from Toulouse, went to her and began to tell her of the 
abuse and insults offered to her daughter, saying: "At your 
command I went with queen Riguntha and I saw her humiliation 
and how she was plundered of her treasures and everything. And 
I escaped by flight and have come to report to my mistress what 
has happened." On hearing this she was enraged and ordered 
him despoiled in the very church and she took away his garments 
and the belt which he had as a gift from king Chilperic and ordered 
him out of her presence. The cooks and bakers, too, and whoever 
she learned of as returning from this journey, she left beaten, 
plundered, and maimed. She tried to ruin by wicked accusations 
to the king, Nectar, brother of bishop Baudegysil, and she said he 
had taken much from the treasury of the dead king. Moreover 
she said he had taken from the storehouses sides of meat and a 
great deal of wine, and she requested that he should be bound and 
thrust into prison darkness. But the king's patience and his 
brother's help prevented this. She did many foolish things and 
did not fear God in whose church she was taking refuge. She had 
with her at the time a judge, Audo, who had assisted in many 
wrongdoings in the time of the king. For together with Mummolus 
the prefect he subjected to the state tax many Franks who in the 
time of king Childebert the elder were free born. After the king's 
death he was despoiled by them and stripped, so that he had nothing 
left except what he could carry away. For they burned his house 
and would have taken his life if he had not fled to the church with 
the queen. 

[16. Praetextatus returns to the bishopric of Rouen.] 

17. Promo tus had been made bishop in Chateaudun by order 
of king Sigibert and had been removed after that king's death on the 
ground that the town was a parish of Chartres and judgment 
had been given against him to the effect that he should perform 
only the functions of a priest. He now came to the king and begged 
to receive again his ordination as bishop in the town mentioned. 
But Pappalus, bishop of Chartres, opposed him and said: "It is 
my parish," pointing especially to the decision of the bishops, 
and Promotus could obtain nothing more from the king than 


permission to take again his own property which he had within 
the territory of the town, on which he lived with his mother who 
was still living. 

[18. King Gunthram fears assassination. 19. Fredegunda is 
ordered to retire to her villa at Reuil. 20. She sends a clerk to 
assassinate Brunhilda. When he returns without success she has 
his feet and hands cut off.] 

21. After this when king Gunthram returned to Chalon and 
endeavored to inquire into his brother's death and the queen had 
put the blame on the chamberlain Eberulf for she had invited 
him to reside with her after the king's death but could not prevail 
upon him to do so this enmity accordingly broke out and the 
queen said that the king had been killed by him and that he had 
taken much from the treasures and so gone off to Tours ; and 
therefore if the king wished to avenge his brother's death he might 
know that Eberulf was the leader in the matter. Then the king 
swore to all his nobles that he would destroy not only Eberulf 
himself but also all his kinsmen to the ninth degree, in order that 
by their death the wicked custom of killing kings might be ended. 
On learning this, Eberulf fled to the church of St. Martin, whose 
property he had often seized. Then upon the pretext of watching 
him the men of Orleans and Blois came in turn to keep guard, and 
at the end of fifteen days returned with great booty, taking horses, 
flocks and herds, and whatever they could carry off. But the 
men who took away the blessed Martin's horses got into a quarrel 
and pierced one another with lances. Two, who were taking 
mules, went to a house near by and asked for a drink. And when 
the man said he had none they raised their lances to attack him, 
but he drew his sword and thrust them both through and they 
fell dead ; Saint Martin's horses were returned. Such evils were 
done at that time by the men of Orleans that they cannot be 

22. While this was going on Eberulf 's property was being 
granted to different persons ; his gold and silver and other valuables 
that he had with him he offered for sale. What he held in trust 
was confiscated. The herds of horses, swine, and pack-animals 
were taken. His house within the walls which he had taken from 
the possession of the church and which was full of grain, wine. 


sides of meat, and many other things, was completely cleaned out 
and nothing but the bare walls remained. Because of this he 
regarded me with great suspicion although I was running faithfully 
on his errands, and he kept promising that if he ever regained the 
king's favor he would take vengeance on me for what he suffered. 
But God, to whom the secrets of the heart are revealed, knows 
that I helped him disinterestedly as far as I could. And al- 
though in former times he had laid many traps for me in order 
to get St. Martin's property, still there was a reason why I should 
forget them, namely because I had taken his son from the holy 
font. But I believe it was the greatest drawback to the unlucky 
man that he showed no respect for the holy bishop. For he often 
engaged in violence within the very portico that is close to the 
saint's feet, and was continually occupied with drunkenness and 
vanities ; and when a priest refused to give him wine, since he was 
plainly drunk already, he crushed him down on a bench and beat 
him with his fists and with other blows, so that he seemed to be 
almost dying; and perhaps he would have died if the cupping- 
glasses of the physicians had not helped him. Now because of 
his fear of the king he had his lodging in the audience chamber 
of the holy church. And when the priest who kept the door keys 
had closed the other doors and gone, girls went in with the rest 
of his attendants by the door of the audience chamber and looked 
at the paintings on the walls and fingered the ornaments of the 
holy tomb, which was a wicked crime in the eyes of the religious. 
And when the priest learned of this he drove nails in the door and 
fitted bars within. And after dinner when he was drunk he noticed 
this, and as we were singing in the church on account of the service 
at nightfall, he entered in a rage and began to attack me with 
abuse and curses, reviling me, among other things, because I wished 
to keep him away from the holy bishops' tomb cover. But I was 
amazed that such madness should possess the man and tried to 
calm him with soothing words. But as I could not overcome his 
rage by gentle words I decided to be silent. And finding that 1 
would say nothing he turned to the priest and overwhelmed him 
with abuse. For he assailed both him and me with vile language 
and various insults. But when we saw that he was so to speak 
possessed by a demon, we went out of the holy church and ended 


the disgraceful scene and the service at the same time, being 
especially indignant that he had become so abusive before the very 
tomb, without respect for the holy bishop. 

In these days I saw a vision which I told him in the holy church, 
saying : "I thought that I was celebrating mass in this holy church 
and when the altar with the offerings was now covered with a 
silk cloth, I suddenly saw king Gunthram entering and he said 
in a loud voice, 'Drag out the enemy of my family, tear the 
murderer away from God's sacred altar/ And when I heard him 
I turned to you and said: 'Wretch, take hold of the altar-cloth 
with which the holy gifts are covered, lest you be cast out of here.' 
And although you laid hold of it you held it with a loose hand and not 
manfully. But I stretched out my hands and opposed my breast 
against the king's breast, saying : 'Do not cast this man out of the 
holy church lest you incur danger to your life, lest the holy bishop 
destroy you by his power. Do not kill yourself with your own 
weapon because if you do this you will lose the present life and the 
eternal one.' But when the king opposed me you let go the cloth 
and came behind me. And I was very much annoyed at you. 
And when you returned to the altar you took hold of the cloth, 
but again let go. And while you held it without spirit and I man- 
fully resisted the king I woke up in terror, not knowing what the 
dream meant." Now when I had told it to him he said : "It is a 
true dream that you saw because it strongly agrees with my pur- 
pose." And I said to him: "And what is your purpose?" He 
replied: "I have determined that if the king orders me to be 
dragged from this place I will hold to the altar-cloth with one hand 
and with the other draw my sword and first kill you and then as 
many clerks as I can reach. And after this it would not be a 
misfortune for me to die, if I first took vengeance on this saint's 
clerks." I heard this and was amazed, and wondered why it was 
that the devil spoke by his mouth. For he never had any fear of 
God. For while he was at liberty his horses and flocks were let 
go among the crops and vineyards of the poor. And if they were 
driven away by the men whose labor they were destroying these 
were at once beaten by his men. In this trouble in which he was 
he often told how many of the blessed bishop's possessions he had ^ * 
taken unjustly. In fact the year before he had urged on a certain ^ 


foolish citizen and caused him to summon the bailiffs of the church. 
Then, without regard for justice, he had taken property which the 
church formerly possessed under pretense of having bought it, 
giving the man the gold ornament on his belt. Moreover he acted 
perversely in many other things to the end of his life, which we shall 
tell of later. 

23. In this year Armentarius, a Jew, with one attendant of his 
own sect and two Christians, came to Tours to demand payment 
of the bonds which Injuriosus, ex-vicar, and Eunomius, ex-count, 
had given to him on account of the tribute. And calling on the 
men, he received a promise to pay the sum with interest, and they 
said to him besides: "If you will come to our house we will pay 
what we owe and honor you with presents also, as is right. " He 
went and was received by Injuriosus and placed at dinner, and 
when the feast was over and night came, they arose and passed 
from one place to another. Then, as they say, the Jews and the 
two Christians also were killed by Injuriosus's men, and thrown 
into a well which was near his house. Their kinsmen heard what 
had been done and came to Tours and information was given by 
certain men and they found the well and took the bodies out, while 
Injuriosus vigorously denied that he had been involved in this 
matter. After this it came to trial, but as he denied it with vigor, 
as I have said, and they had no means of proving him guilty, it 
was decided that he should take oath that he was innocent. But 
they were not satisfied with this and they set the trial before king 
Childebert. However neither the money nor the bonds of the dead 
Jew were found. Many said at the time that Medard the tribune 
was involved in this crime, because he too had borrowed money 
from the Jew. However Injuriosus went to the trial before king 
Childebert and waited for three days until sunset. But as they 
did not come and he was not examined on the case by any one, he 
returned home. 

[24. The territory of Poitiers is devastated and its people are 
forced to declare their allegiance to Gunthram a second time.] 

25. Marileif, who had been regarded as the chief physician 
in king Chilperic's household, they attacked most eagerly. And 
although he had been well plundered already by duke Gararic 
he was a second time stripped bare by these, so that he had no sub- 


stance left. They took away his horses, gold, silver, and other 
valuables alike, and subjected him to the control of the church. 
For his father's service had been to attend to the mills of the church, 
and his brothers and cousins and other relatives were attached to 
the kitchens and mills of their masters. 

[26. Gundovald goes about among the southern cities exacting 
the oath of allegiance. 27. He enters Toulouse and exiles bishop 

Magnulf. 28. Gunthram's army marches south from Poitiers. 
29. Eberulf is slain by Claudius. 30. A legate of Gundovald is 
captured by Gunthram. 31. Gundovald obtains a piece of the 
finger bone of the martyr Sergius, hearing that an Oriental king 
had defeated his enemy by the help of one of Sergius' finger bones. 
32. Two legates of Gundovald are taken and tortured. 33. 
Friendship is reestablished between Gunthram and Childebert. 
34. Gundovald takes refuge in Comminges. 35. March of 
Gunthram's army to Comminges. 36. Gunthram's men outside 
the wall abuse Gundovald and he answers with an account of his 

3 7 . The fifteenth day of this siege had dawned when Leudeghisel 
began to make ready new engines to destroy the city, wagons 
carrying battering rams covered with woven branches, and planks 
under which the army was to move forward to tear down the walls. 
But when they came near they were so overwhelmed with stones 
that all who got near the wall perished. They threw upon them 
pots of burning pitch and fat and hurled jars full of stones down on 
them. And when night ended the contest the army returned to 
the camp. Now Gundovald had on his side Chariulf, a very rich 
and powerful man, with whose store-rooms the city was very full, 
and it was on his substance that they were chiefly supported. 
And Bladast saw what was being done and was afraid that Leudeg- 
hisel would win the victory and put them to death, so he set fire 
to the bishop's house, and when the people shut in the city ran to 
put the fire out he slipped away and departed. In the morning 
the army rose again for battle and they made bundles of rods as 
if to fill the deep trench which lay on the east ; but here the engine 

could do no harm. And Sagittarius the bishop went frequently 
around the walls in arms and from the wall hurled stones with his 
own hand at the enemy. 


38. Finally when those attacking the city saw that they could 
accomplish nothing, they sent secret messages to Mummolus 
saying : " Recognize your lord and finally give up your perversity. 
What madness possesses you to become a follower of an unknown 
man ? For your wife and your daughters have been captured and 
your sons have been already slain. What end are you coming to ? 
What do you expect except to perish ? " He received their message 
and replied: " Already, as I see, our kingdom has reached its end 
and its power fails. One thing is left ; if I learn that I have se- 
curity of life, I can relieve you of great trouble." When the mes- 
sengers left, bishop Sagittarius with Mummolus, Chariulf and Waddo 
hastened to the church and there they swore to one another that 
if they should be assured of life they would give up their friendship 
for Gundovald and betray him to the enemy. The messengers 
returned and promised them security of life. And Mummolus 
said : "Let this be done ; I will betray him into your hand and I 
will recognize my master the king and hasten to his presence." 
Then they promised that if he did this they would receive him to 
their friendship, and if they could not secure his pardon from the 
king they would place him in a church that he might avoid the 
punishment of death. This they promised with an oath and then 
departed. And Mummolus went to Gundovald with bishop 
Sagittarius and Waddo and said: "You were present and know 
what oaths of faithfulness we took to you. But now accept whole- 
some counsel and go down from this city and present yourself to 
your brother as you have often desired to do. For we have spoken 
with these men and they have told us that the king does not wish 
to lose your support because too few remain of your family." 
But he understood their treachery and bursting into tears said : 
"It was at your invitation I came to these Gauls, and of my treas- 
ures comprising a great amount of silver and gold and various 
articles of value, some have been kept in Avignon and some have 
been taken by Gunthram Boso. And next to God's help I placed 
all my hope in you, and to you intrusted my counsels and by your 
help always wished to reign. Now let your settlement be with 
God if you have lied to me. For he will judge my cause." To 
this Mummolus replied : "We are not speaking deceitfully to you ; 
and lo ! brave men are standing at the gate awaiting your coming. 


Now lay down my gilded belt that you are wearing that you may 
not seem to go forth boastingly and gird on your sword and give 
me mine back." He answered: " There is a double meaning in 
what you say since you are taking away the things of yours that 
I have used as a token of affection." But Mummolus swore that 
no harm should be done him. Accordingly they went out of the 
gate and he was received by Olio, count of Bourges, and by Boso. 
And Mummolus returned into the city with his followers and barred 
the gate very securely. And when Gundovald saw that he was 
betrayed into the hands of his enemies he raised his hands and eyes 
to heaven and said : "Eternal judge, true avenger of the innocent, 
God from whom all justice comes, whom lying displeases, in whom is 
no craft or wicked cunning, to Thee I commend my cause, praying 
that Thou mayst be a swift avenger upon those who have betrayed 
an innocent man into the hands of his enemies." Having said this 
he crossed himself and went off with the men I have mentioned. 
And when they had gone some distance from the gate, as the whole 
valley around the city is precipitous he was given a push by Olio 
and fell, Olio calling out: " There is your Ballomer, who says he 
is brother and son of a king." And he threw his lance and wished 
to pierce him but it was checked by the links of Gundovald's coat 
of mail, and did him no injury. Then when he rose and attempted 
to climb the mountain Boso threw a stone and struck his head. 
And he fell and died. And the whole throng came and thrust their 
lances into him and tied his feet with a rope and dragged him 
through all the camp of the armies, and they tore out his hair 
and beard and left him unburied in the place where he was killed. 
The next night the leaders secretly carried off all the treasures they 
could find in the city, together with the church utensils. And in 
the morning they opened the gates and admitted the army and gave 
over all the common folk inside to the edge of the sword, butchering 
also the bishops of the Lord with their attendants at the very altars 
of the churches. And after they had killed all so that not one re- 
mained, they burned the whole city, both churches and other 
buildings, and left nothing but bare ground. 

39. Now Leudeghisel, on his return to the camp with Mummo- 
lus, Sagittarius, Chariulf and Waddo, sent messengers secretly to 
the king to ask what he wished done with them. And he gave 


orders to put them to death. But Waddo and Chariulf by that 
time had left their sons as hostages and gone off. When the word 
about their death had come and Mummolus heard of it, he put 
on his armor and went to Leudeghisel's hut. And Leudeghisel 
saw him and said to him: "Why do you come thus as if ready 
to flee?" And he answered: "The word that was given is not 
to be kept, I see ; for I know that I am close to death." But 
Leudeghisel replied: "I will go out and settle everything." He 
went out and immediately by his command the house was sur- 
rounded in order that Mummolus might be killed. But he made 
a long resistance against his assailants and at last came to the door 
and as he stepped out two with lances struck him on each side, 
and so he fell and died. On seeing this the bishop was overwhelmed 
with fear and one of the bystanders said to him : "Behold with your 
own eyes, bishop, what is being done. Cover your head to escape 
recognition and make for the woods and hide for a little time, and 
when their anger passes you can escape." He took the advice, 
but while he was trying to get away with his head covered, a cer- 
tain man drew his sword and cut off his head, hood and all. Then 
each and all returned home, plundering and killing along the way. 
In these days Fredegunda sent Chuppan to Toulouse to bring her 
daughter thence as best he could. Now many said that he was 
sent in case he found Gundovald alive to entice him with many 
promises and bring him to her. But since Chuppan could not do 
this he took Rigunda and brought her back from that place amid 
great scorn and contempt. 

[40. Mummolus's treasures, amounting to two hundred and 
fifty- two talents of silver and a greater value in gold, are taken. 
41. A giant "two or three feet taller than the tallest men" is 
taken to king Gunthram. 42. The count of Bourges attempts 
to fine "St. Martin's men" for not taking part in the expedition 
against Gundovald. 43. Desiderius, Waddo, and Chariulf escape.] 

44. There was at this time a woman who had a spirit of divina- 
tion and won great gain for her owners by prophesying, and^she 
won such favor from them that she was set free and left to Jtief~pwri 
devices. And if any one suffered from theft or any wrongdoing 
she would at once tell where^the thiefliad gone, to whom he had 
given thej3roperty f ~or jgrha^he had done^witrTit. She gathered 


together gold and silver every day and went forth in rich clothing, 
so that she was thought among the people to be something divine. 
*But when this was reported to Ageric, bishop of Verdun, he sent 
to arrest her. When she was arrested and brought to him he 
perceived, according to that which we read in the Acts of the 
Apostles, that there was in her an unclean spirit of divination. 
And when he said a formula of exorcism over her and anointed 
her forehead with holy oil, the demon cried out and revealed to 
the bishop what it was. But since he could not drive it from the 
woman she was allowed to go. And the woman saw that she 
could not dwell in the place and she went off to queen Fredegunda 
and remained hid. 

45. In this year a severe famine oppressed almost all of the 
Gauls. Many dried and ground into powder grape seeds and oat 
chaff and fern roots and mixed a little flour with it and made 
bread ; many cut straw and did the same. Many who had no 
flour ate different herbs which they gathered, and in consequence 
swelled up and died. Many too wasted away and died of starva- 
tion. At that time the traders plundered, the people greatly, 
selling scarcely a peck of grain or half measure of wine for the third 
of a gold piece. They subjected the poor to slavery in return for 
a little food. 

[46. Christofer, a trader, is killed by his Saxon slaves, one of 
whom is caught and executed. 47. Quarrel between two citizens 
of Tours.] 



1. Visit of the king at Orleans. 

2. How the bishops were presented to him and how he made ready a feast. 

3. The singers and Mummolus's silver. 

4. Praise of king Childebert. 

5. The visions of Chilperic which the king and I saw. 

6. Those whom I presented. 

7. How bishop Palladius said mass. 

8. Prodigies. 

9. The oath given in behalf of Chilperic's son. 

10. The bodies of Merovech and Clovis. 

11. The doorkeepers and the killing of Boantus. 

12. Bishop Theodore and the plague that visited Ratharius. 

13. The embassy sent by Gunthram to Childebert. 

14. Danger on the river. 

15. Conversion of deacon Vulfilaic. Jfc 

16. What he related of St. Martin's miracles. 

17. The signs which appeared. & 

1 8. Childebert sends an army into Italy; the dukes and counts who are ap- 

pointed or removed. 

19. Killing of the abbot Daulfus. 

20. Acts of the synod at Macon. 

21. The court at Beslingen and the violation of sepulcher. 

22. Death of the bishops and of Wandalinus. 

23. Floods. 

24. The islands of the sea. 

25. The island in which blood appeared. 

26. The former duke Berulf. 

27. Desiderius returns to the king. 

28. Hermengild and Ingunda and the Spanish legates secretly sent to Frede- 


29. Fredegunda sends persons to kill Childebert. 

30. The army makes an expedition against Septimania. 

31. The killing of bishop Praetextatus. 

32. Killing of Domnola, Nectarius's wife. 

33. Burning of Paris. 

34. Temptations of recluses. 



35. Spanish legates. 

36. Killing of Magnovald. 

37. A son is born to Childebert. 

38. The Spaniards burst into the Gauls. 

39. Death of the bishops. 

40. Pelagius of Tours. 

41. The slayers of Praetextatus. 

42. Beppolenus is appointed duke. 

43. Nicecius is appointed governor of Provence ; doings of Antestius. 

44. The man who wished to kill king Gunthram. 

45. Death of duke Desiderius. 

46. Death of king Leuvigild. 



i. Now king Gunthram in the twenty-fourth year of his reign 
started from Chalon and went to the city of Nevers. For he was 
going to Paris by invitation to receive from the holy font of 
regeneration Chilperic's son, whom they were already calling 
Clothar. And he left the territory of Nevers and came to the city 
of Orleans and at that time appeared much among the citizens. 
For on receiving invitations he went to their homes and partook 
of the repasts offered him. He received many gifts from them and 
bestowed many gifts on them in a very generous way. And when 
he came to the city of Orleans the day was the festival of the 
blessed Martin, namely the fourth before the Nones of the fifth 
month [July 4]. And a huge throng of people came to meet him 
with standards and banners, singing praises. And here the Syrian 
language, there that of the Latins, and again that even of the 
Jews, sounded together strangely in varied praises, saying: "Long 
live the king; may his reign over the people last unnumbered 
years." And the Jews who were to be seen taking part in these 
praises said: "May all the nations honor you and bend the knee 
and be subject to you." And so it happened that when the king 
was seated at dinner after mass he said : "Woe to the Jewish 
tribe, wicked, treacherous, and always living by cunning. Here's 
what they were after," said he, " when they cried out their flatter- 
ing praises to-day, that all the nations were to honor me as master. 
[They wish me] to order their synagogue, long ago torn down by 
the Christians, to be built at the public cost; but by the Lord's 
command I will never do it . " O King glorious for wonderful wisdom . 
He so understood the craft of the heretics that they entirely failed 
to get from him what they were going to propose later. At the 
dinner the king said to the bishops who were present : "I beg you 
to give me your blessing to-morrow in my house and bring me 



salvation by your coming, so that I may be saved when in my 
humility I receive your words of blessing." When he said this all 
thanked him, and as dinner was finished we rose. 

2. In the morning while the king was visiting the holy places 
to offer prayer he came to my lodging. It was the church of Saint 
Avitus the abbot, whom I mention in my book of the miracles. I 
rose gladly, I admit, to go to meet him, and after giving him my 
blessing begged him to accept St. Martin's holy bread at my lodg- 
ing. He did not refuse but courteously came in, drank a cup, 
invited me to the dinner and went away in good humor. 
* At that time Bertram, bishop of Bordeaux, and Palladius of 
Saintes were in great disfavor with the king because of their support 
of Gundovald of which we have told above. Moreover bishop 
Palladius had especially offended the king because he had re- 
peatedly deceived him. Now they had recently been under 
examination before the remaining bishops and the nobles as to why 
they had supported Gundovald and why they had foolishly or- 
dained -Faustian bishop of Ax at his command. But bishop 
Palladius took the blame for the ordination from his metropolitan 
Bertram and took it on his own shoulders, saying : "My metropoli- 
tan was suffering greatly from sore eyes and I was plundered and 
treated with indignity and dragged to the place against my will. 
I could do nothing else than obey one who said he had received 
complete control of the Gauls." When this was told the king he 
was greatly irritated so that he could scarcely be prevailed upon to 
invite to the dinner these bishops whom he had previously refused 
to see. So when Bertram came in the king asked : "Who is he?" 
For it had been a long time since he had seen him. And they 
said: "This is Bertram bishop of Bordeaux." And the king said 
to him : "We thank you for keeping faith as you have with your 
own family. For I would have you know, beloved father, that you 
are my kinsman on my mother's side and you should not have 
brought a plague from abroad on your own people." When Ber- 
tram had been told this and more, the king turned to Palladius 
and said: "You do not deserve much gratitude either, bishop 
Palladius. For you perjured yourself to me three times a 
hard thing to say of a bishop sending me information full of 
treachery. You excused yourself to me by letter and at the 


same time you were inviting my brother in other letters. God 
will judge my cause since I have always tried to treat you as fathers 
of the church and you have always been treacherous." And he 
said to the bishops Nicasius and Antidius : "Most holy fathers, 
tell me what you have done for the advantage of your country or 
the security of my kingdom." They made no reply and the king 
washed his hands and after receiving a blessing from the bishops 
sat at table with a glad countenance and a cheerful behavior as 
if he had said nothing about the wrongs done him. 

3. Meantime when the dinner was now half over the king asked 
me to request my deacon who had sung the responsory at the 
mass the day before, to sing. When he had sung he next asked me 
to request all the bishops who, at my instance, had come prepared, 
to appoint each a single clerk from his service to sing before the 
king. And so I made the request at the king's command, and they 
sang, each to the best of his ability, a psalm before the king. And 
when the courses were being changed the king said : "All the silver 
you see belonged to that perjurer Mummolus, but now by the help 
of God's grace it has been transferred to my ownership. I have 
already had fifteen of his dishes like the larger one you see yonder 
melted down, and I have kept only this one and one other of a 
hundred and seventy pounds. Why [keep] more than enough for 
daily use ? It is too bad, but I have no other son than Childebert, 
and he has enough treasures which his father left him beside what I 
had sent to him from the property of this wretch which was found 
at Avignon. The rest must be given for the necessities of the 
poor and the churches. 

4. " There is only one thing that I ask of you, my lord bishops, 
namely, to pray God's mercy for my son Childebert. For he is a 
man of sense and ability so that one so cautious and energetic as he 
could scarcely be found in many years. And if God would deign 
to grant him to these Gauls perhaps there would be hope that by 
him our race, greatly weakened though it is, can rise again. And 
I have confidence that this will happen through His mercy because 
the indications at the boy's birth were of this sort. For it was the 
holy day of Easter and my brother Sigibert was standing in the 
church and the deacon was walking in procession with the holy 
book of the Gospels, and a messenger came to the king, and the 


words of the deacon as he read from the Gospels and of the messen- 
ger were the same, saying: 'To thee a son has been born.' And 
when they both spoke together all the people cried out : ' Glory to 
all-powerful God.' Moreover he was baptized on the holy day 
of Pentecost and was made king also on the holy day of the Lord's 
birth. And so if your prayers attend him, God willing he will 
be able to rule." So the king spoke and all prayed the Lord in 
His mercy to keep both kings safe. The king added : "It is true 
that his mother Brunhilda threatens my life, but I have no mis- 
giving on this account. For the Lord who has saved me from the 
hands of my enemies will save me from her plots too." 

5. Then he said much against bishop Theodore, protesting 
that if he came to the synod he would thrust him off again into 
exile and saying: "I know it was for the sake of these people 1 
that he caused my brother Chilperic to be killed. In fact I ought 
not to be called a man if I cannot avenge his death this year." 
But I made answer : " And what killed Chilperic, unless it was his 
own wickedness and your prayers ? For he laid many plots for 
you contrary to justice and they brought death to him. And, so 
to speak, it was just this that I saw in a dream when I beheld him 
with tonsured head being ordained bishop, apparently, and then I 
saw him placed on a plain chair hung only with black and carried 
along with shining lamps and torches going before him." When I 
told this the king said : "And I saw another vision which foretold 
his death. He was brought into my presence loaded with chains 
by three bishops, of whom one was Tetricus, the second Agricola, 
and the third Nicecius of Lyons. And two of them said : * Set 
him free, we entreat you, give him a beating and let him go/ But 
bishop Tetricus answered harshly, ' It shall not be so, but he shall 
be burned with fire for his crimes.' And when they had carried 
on this discussion for a long time, as if quarreling, I saw at a dis- 
tance a caldron set on a fire and boiling furiously. Then I wept and 
they seized unhappy Chilperic and broke his limbs and threw him 
in the caldron. And he was immediately so melted and dissolved 
amid the steam from the water that no trace of him at all remained." 
The king told this story and we wondered at it, and the feast being 
finished we rose. 

1 Gundovald and his followers. 


6. Next day the king went hunting. When he returned I 
brought into his presence Garachar, count of Bordeaux, and Bla- 
dast, who, as I have told you before, had taken refuge in the church 
of Saint Martin because they had been followers of Gundovald. 
I had previously made intercession for them but had failed, and * 
so at this later time I said: "Hear me, powerful king. Behold I 
have been sent to you on an embassy by my master. What answer 
shall I give to him who sent me when you refuse to give me any 
answer?" And he said in amazement: "And who is your master 
who sent you?" I smiled and answered : "The blessed Martin." 
Then he ordered me to bring the men before him. And when they 
entered his presence he reproached them with many treacheries 
and perjuries, calling them again and again tricky foxes, but he 
restored them to his favor, giving back what he had taken from 

7. When the Lord's day came the king went to church to hear 
mass. And the brethren and fellow-bishops who were there yielded 
to bishop Palladius the honor of celebrating it. When he began 
to read the prophecy the king inquired who he was. And when 
they told him that it was the bishop Palladius he was angry at 
once and said: "Is he now to preach the sacred word before me 
who has always been faithless to me and perjured. I will leave 
this church immediately and will not hear my enemy preach." So 
saying he started to leave the church. Then the bishops were 
troubled by the humiliation of their brother and said to the king : 
"We saw him present at the feast you gave and we saw you receive 
a blessing at his hand and why does the king despise him now ? If 
we had known that he was hateful to you we would have resorted 
to another to celebrate mass. But now if you permit it let him 
continue the ceremony which he has begun ; to-morrow if you bring 
any charge against him let it be judged in accordance with the holy 
canons." By this time bishop Palladius had retired to the sacristy 
in great humiliation. Then the king bade him be recalled and he 
finished the ceremony which he had begun. Moreover when 
Palladius and Bertram were again summoned to the king's table 
they became angry at one another and reproached one another with 
many adulteries and fornications and with a good many perjuries 
as well. At these matters many laughed, but a number who were 


keener of perception lamented that the weeds of the devil should 
so flourish among the bishops of the Lord. And so they left the 
king's presence, giving bonds and security to appear at the synod 
on the tenth day before the kalends of the ninth month. 

[8. List of prodigies. 9. Queen Fredegunda, three bishops and 

three hundred nobles swear to Gunthram that the young Clothar 
is Chilperic's son. 10. Gunthram discovers the bodies of Chil- 
peric's sons, Merovech and Clovis, and gives them due burial, n. 
Gunthram's life is in danger. 12. Bishop Theodore of Marseilles 

is forced to appear before Gunthram. 13. Gunthram sends an 
embassy to Childebert. 14. Gregory nearly loses his life in cross- 
ing the Rhine but is saved by relics of St. Martin.] 

15. We started on the journey and came to the town of Yvois 
and there were met by deacon Vumlaic and taken to his monastery, 
where we received a very kind welcome. This monastery is situ- 
ated on a mountain top about eight miles from the town I have 
mentioned. On this mountain Vumlaic built a great church and 
made it famous for its relics of the blessed Martin and other saints. 
While staying there I began to ask him to tell me something of the 
blessing of his conversion and how he had entered the clergy, for 
he was a Lombard by race. But he would not speak of these mat- 
ters since he was quite determined to avoid vain-glory. But I 
urged him with terrible oaths, first promising that I would disclose 
to no one what he told and I began to ask him to conceal from me 
none of the matters of which I would ask. After resisting a long 
time he was overcome at length by my entreaties and protestations 
and told the following tale : "When I was a small boy/' said he, "I 
heard the name of the blessed Martin, though I did not know yet 
whether he was martyr or confessor or what good he had done in 
the world, or what region had the merit of receiving his blessed 
limbs in the tomb ; and I was already keeping vigils in his honor, 
and if any money came into my hands I would give alms. As I 
grew older I was eager to learn and I was able to write before I 
knew the order of the written letters [before I could read]. Then 
I joined the abbot Aridius and was taught by him and visited the 
church of Saint Martin. Returning with him he took a little of 
the dust of the holy tomb for a blessing. This he placed in a little 
case and hung it on my neck. Coming to his monastery in the 


territory of Limoges he took the little case to place it in his oratory 
and the dust had increased so much that it not only filled the whole 
case but burst out at the joints wherever it could find an exit. In 
the light of this miracle my mind was the more on fire to place all 
my hope in his power. Then I came to the territory of Treves 
and on the mountain where you are now built with my own hands 
the dwelling you see. I found here an image of Diana which the 
unbelieving people worshiped as a god. I also built a column on 
which I stood in my bare feet with great pain. And when the 
winter had come as usual I was so nipped by the icy cold that the 
power of the cold often caused my toe-nails to fall off and frozen 
moisture hung from my beard like candles. For this country is 
said to have a very cold winter." And when I asked him urgently 
what food or drink he had and how he destroyed the images on 
the mountain, he said: "My food and drink were a little bread 
and vegetables and a small quantity of water. And when a multi- 
tude began to flock to me from the neighboring villages I preached 
always that Diana was nothing, that her images and the worship 
which they thought it well to observe were nothing; and that 
the songs which they sang at their cups and wild debauches were 
disgraceful ; but it was right to offer the sacrifice of praise to all- 
powerful God who made heaven and earth. I often prayed that 
the Lord would deign to hurl down the image and free the people 
from this error. And the Lord's mercy turned the rustic mind 
to listen to my words and to follow the Lord, abandoning their 
idols. Then I gathered some of them together so that by their 
help I could hurl down the huge image which I could not budge with 
my own strength, for I had already broken the rest of the small 
images, which was an easier task. When many had gathered at 
this statue of Diana ropes were fastened and they began to pull 
but their toil could accomplish nothing. Then I hastened to the 
church and threw myself on the ground and weeping begged the 
divine mercy that the power of God should destroy that which 
human energy could not overturn. After prayirig I went out to 
the workmen and took hold of the rope, and as soon as I began to 
pull at once the image fell to the ground where I broke it with iron 
hammers and reduced it to dust. But at this very hour when I 
was going to take food my whole body was so covered with malig- 


nant pimples from sole to crown that no space could be found that 
a single finger might touch. I went alone into the church and 
stripped myself before the holy altar. Now I had there a jar full 
of oil which I had brought from Saint Martin's church. With 
this I oiled all my body with my own hands and soon lay down to 
sleep. I awoke about midnight and rose to perform the service 
and found my whole body cured as if no sore had appeared on me. 
And I perceived that these sores were sent not otherwise than by 
the hate of the enemy. And inasmuch as he enviously seeks to 
injure those who seek God, the bishops, who should have urged 
me the more to continue wisely the work I had begun, came and 
said : ' This way which you follow is not the right one, and a base- 
born man like you cannot be compared with Simon of Antioch who 
lived on a column. Moreover the situation of the place does not 
allow you to endure the hardship. Come down rather and dwell 
with the brethren you have gathered/ At their words I came 
down, since not to obey the bishops is called a crime. And I 
walked and ate with them. And one day the bishop summoned 
me to a village at a distance and sent workmen with crowbars and 
hammers and axes and destroyed the column I was accustomed to 
stand on. I returned the next day and found it all gone. I wept 
bitterly but could not build again what they had torn down for 
fear of being called disobedient to the bishop's orders. And since 
then I am content to dwell with the brothers just as I do now." 

1 6. And when I asked him to tell somewhat of the miracles 
which the blessed Martin worked in that place, he related the fol- 
lowing: "The son of a certain Frank of the highest rank among 
his people was deaf and dumb ; he was brought by his kinsmen to 
this church and I had him sleep on a couch in the holy temple with 
my deacon and another attendant. And by day he devoted him- 
self to prayer and at night he slept in the church as I have said. 
And when God pitied him the blessed Martin appeared to me in a 
vision saying, 'Send the lamb out of the church for he is now 
cured.' In the morning I was thinking what this dream meant 
when the boy came to me and spoke and began to thank God, and 
turning to me said : ' I thank all-powerful God who has restored 
to me speech and hearing/ After this he was cured and returned 
home." . 


[17. Peculiar appearances in the heavens from which Gregory 
expected that "some plague would be sent upon them from the 
heavens." 18. Childebert's invasion of Italy and the appoint- 
ment of various dukes and counts. 19. The abbot Dagulfus is 
taken in adultery. 20. A synod meets at Macon. 21. Childe- 
bert hears a charge of grave robbery against Gunthram Boso. 
22. Various items of the year 585. 23-25. Prodigies. 26. Eberulf, 
former duke of Tours and Poitiers, loses his property. 27. Desi- 
derius is restored to favor with Gunthram. 28. Relations with 
the Spanish king. 29. The plot to assassinate Childebert and its 
failure. 30. Gunthram sends two armies to attack Septimania. 
They plunder his own territories and turn back without success. 
31. Quarrel between Fredegunda and Praetextatus, bishop of 
Rouen. 32. Dispute about vineyards between one of Fredegunda's 
officials and Domnola.] 

33. Now there was in these days in the city of Paris a woman 
who said to the inhabitants : "0 flee from the city and know that 
it must be burned with fire." And when she was ridiculed by many 
for saying this on the evidence of lots and because of some idle 
dream or at the urging of a mid-day demon, she replied : "It is not 
as you say, for I say truly that I saw in a vision a man all illumined 
coming from the church of St. Vincent, holding a torch in his hand 
and setting fire to the houses of the merchants one after another." 
Then the third night after the woman made this prophecy, at twilight 
a certain citizen took a light and went into his store-house and took 
oil and other necessary things and went out, leaving the light close 
by the cask of oil. This was the house next the gate which is 
towards the south. From this light the house caught fire and 
burned, and from it others began to catch. Then the fire threat- 
ened the prisoners, but the blessed Germanus appeared to them 
and broke the posts and chains by which they were bound and 
opened the prison door and allowed all the prisoners to go safe. 
They went forth and took refuge in the church of St. Vincent in 
which is the blessed bishop's tomb. Now when the flame was 
carried hither and thither through the whole city by the high wind 
and the fire had the complete mastery, it began to approach another 
gate where there was an oratory of the blessed Martin which had been 
placed there because he had there cured a case of leprosy with a 


kiss. The man who had built it of interwoven branches, trusting 
in God and confident of the blessed Martin's power, took refuge 
within its walls with his property saying: "I believe and have 
faith that he who has so often mastered fire and at this place by a 
kiss made a leper's skin clean, will keep the fire from here." When 
the fire came near great masses of flame swept along but when 
they touched the wall of the oratory they were extinguished at 
once. But the people kept calling to the man and woman : "Run 
if you wish to save yourselves. For a mass of fire is rushing on 
you ; see, ashes and coals are falling around you like a heavy rain. 
Leave the oratory or you will be burned in the fire." But they 
kept on praying and were never moved by these words. And the 
woman, who was armed with the strongest faith in the power of 
the blessed bishop, never moved from the window through which 
the flames sometimes entered. And so great was the power of the 
blessed bishop that he not only saved this oratory together with his 
follower's house but he did not permit the flames to injure the other 
houses which were around. There the fire ceased which had broken 
out on one side of the bridge. And onthe other side it burned all 
so completely that only the river stopped it. However, the churches 
with the houses attached to them were not burned. It was said 
that this city had been as it were consecrated in ancient times so 
that not only fire could not prevail there but snakes and mice could 
not appear. But lately when a channel under the bridge had been 
cleaned and the mud which filled it had been taken out they found 
a snake and a mouse of bronze. They were removed and after 
that mice without number and snakes appeared, and fires began 
to take place. 

34. Inasmuch as the prince of darkness has a thousand arts of 
doing injury, I will relate what lately happened to recluses vowed 
to God. Vennoc, a Breton, who had become a priest as we have 
told in another book, was so given up to abstinence that he wore 
only garments made of skins and ate wild herbs in the raw state 
and merely touched the wine to his lips so that one would think 
he was kissing it rather than drinking. But as the devout in their 
generosity often gave him vessels of this liquor, sad to say he learned 
to drink immoderately and to be so given up to it as to be generally 
seen drunk. And so as his drunkenness grew worse and time went 


on, he was seized by a demon and so violently harassed that 
he would seize a knife or any kind of weapon or stone or club 
that he could lay hands on and run after men in an insane rage. 
And it became necessary to bind him with chains and imprison 
him in a cell. After raging under this punishment for two years 
he died. 

There was also Antholius of Bordeaux. When a boy of twelve 
years old, it is said, the servant of a merchant, he asked to be allowed 
to become a recluse. His master opposed him a long time, think- 
ing he would grow lukewarm and that at his age he could not attain 
to what he wished, but he was at length overcome by his servant's 
entreaties and permitted him to fulfil his desire. Now there was 
an old crypt vaulted and very finely built, and in the corner of it 
was a little cell built of squared stones in which there was hardly 
room for one man standing. The boy entered this cell and re- 
mained in it eight years or more, satisfied with very little food and 
drink and devoting himself to watching and prayer. After this 
he was seized with a great fear and began to shout that he was 
being tortured internally. So it happened, by the aid, as I suppose, 
of the devil's soldiers, that he tore away the stones that shut him 
in, dashed the wall to the ground and cried, wringing his hands, 
that the saints of God were causing him frightful torture. And 
when he had continued in this madness a long time and often men- 
tioned the name of Saint Martin and said he caused him more tor- 
ture than the other saints, he was brought to Tours. But the evil 
spirit, because, I suppose, of the virtue and greatness of the saint, 
did not tear the man. He remained in Tours for the space of a 
year and as he suffered no more he returned, but later on he suf- 
fered from the trouble that he had been free from here. 
[35. An embassy from Spain to king Gunthram.] 
36. By order of king Childebert Magnovald was killed in his 
presence, for reasons not given, in the following manner : the king 
was staying in his palace in the city of Metz and was attending a 
sport in which an animal was surrounded by a pack of dogs and 
worried, when Magnovald was summoned. He came and not 
knowing what was to happen he began to look at the animal and 
laugh heartily with the rest. But a man who had received his 
orders seeing him intent on the spectacle raised his axe and dashed 


it against his head. He fell and died and was thrown out by the 
window and buried by his own people. His property was taken 
at once, as much as was found, and carried to the public treasury. 
Certain persons said that it was because he had beaten his wife to 
death after his brother died and had married his brother's wife, 
that he was killed. 

[37. Birth of a son to Childebert. 38. Spanish expedition into 
Gaul. 39. Death of several bishops.] 

40. There was in the city of Tours a certain Pelagius who was 
practiced in every villany and was not afraid of any judge, because 
he had under his control the keepers of the horses belonging to the 
Use. Because of this he never ceased either on land or on the rivers 
to thieve, dispossess, plunder, murder, and commit every sort of 
crime. I often sent for him and both by threats and by gentle 
words tried to make him desist from his wickedness. But it was 
hatred rather than any reward of justice I got from him, according 
to Solomon's proverb : Reprove not a fool lest he hate thee. 

The wretch so hated me that he often plundered and beat and 
left half-dead the men of the holy church, and was always looking 
for pretexts to harm the cathedral or the church of Saint Martin. 
And so it happened that once when our men were coming and bring- 
ing sea-urchins in vessels, he beat them and trampled on them and 
took the vessels. When I learned of this I excommunicated him, 
not to avenge my wrong but to correct him more easily of this 
insanity. But he chose twelve men and came to clear himself of 
this crime by perjury. Though I was unwilling to receive any 
oath I was compelled by him and my fellow-citizens, and so I sent 
the rest away and received his oath only, and ordered that he be 
taken back into communion. It was then the first month. When 
the fifth month l came when the meadows are usually cut, he en- 
tered a meadow adjoining his own that belonged to the monks. 
But as soon as he put sickle to it he was seized with fever and died 
on the third day. He had had a tomb made for him in Saint Martin's 
church in the village of Candes, but when it was uncovered his 
people found it broken to bits. He was afterwards buried in the 
portico of the church. The vessels for which he had perjured him- 
self were brought by his storekeeper after his death. Here the 



power of the blessed Mary is evident, in whose church the wretch 
had taken a false oath. 

[41. Fredegunda is accused of the killing of Praetextatus. 42. 
Beppolenus leaves Fredegunda and is made a duke by Gunthram. 
43. Palladius, bishop of Saintes, is forced to appear before Gun-* 
thram. 44. Fredegunda attempts to have Gunthram assassi- 
nated. 45. Death of Duke Desiderius. 46. Richared succeeds 
Leuvigild of Spain.] 



1. Richared and his legates. 

2. The blessed Radegunda's death. 

3. The man who came to king Gunthram with a knife. 

4. Another son is born to Childebert. 

5. Prodigies. 

6. They who lead astray and soothsayers. 

7. Removal from office of duke Ennodius ; the Gascons. 

8. The appearance at court of Gunthram Boso. 

9. Rauching's death. 

10. Gunthram Boso's death. 

11. Meeting of the kings. 

12. Death of Ursio and of Bertefred. 

13. Baddo who had been kept prisoner when on an embassy and long after 

was set free ; dysentery. 

14. Reconciliation between bishop Egidius and duke Lupus. 

15. Richared's conversion. 

16. His embassy to our kings. 

17. A hard year. 

1 8. The Bretons and the death of bishop Namatius. 

19. Killing of Sichar a citizen of Tours. 

20. I am sent to king Gunthram on an embassy to maintain the peace. 

21. The charities and goodness of the king. 

22. The plague at Marseilles. 

23. Death of bishop Ageric and his successor. 

24. Episcopate of Fronimius. 

25. Childebert's army goes into Italy. 

26. Death of queen Ingoberga. 

27. Amalo's death. 

28. The beautiful things which queen Brunhilda sent. 

29. The Lombards ask peace of king Childebert. 

30. Assessors at Poitiers and Tours. 

31. King Gunthram sends an army to Septimania. 

32. Enmity between Childebert and Gunthram. 

33 . The nun Ingy trude goes to Childebert to make charges against her daughter. 

34. Quarrels between Fredegunda and her daughter. 

35. Killing of Waddo. 



36. King Childebert sends Theodobert his son to Soissons. 

37. Bishop Droctigisil. 

38. What some wished to do to queen Brunhilda. 

39. The scandal which arose in the convent of Poitiers through Chrodechild 

and Basina. 

40. The first beginning of the scandal. 

41. The fight in St. Hilarius's church. 

42. Copy of the letter which the holy Radegunda sent to the bishops. 

43. The priest Theuther comes to end this scandal. 

44. The weather. 



[i. Richared, the new king of Spain, sends legates to Gunthram 
and Childebert; they are not received by Gunthram. 2. Death 
of Radegunda.] 

3. Meantime the festival of Saint Marcellus came, which is 
celebrated in the seventh month in the city of Chalon, and king 
Gunthram was present. And when the ceremony was over and 
he had approached the holy altar for the communion, a certain 
man came as if to say something. And as he hastened to the king 
a knife fell from his hand ; he was seized at once and they found 
another knife unsheathed in his hand. He was immediately led 
from the holy church and put in fetters and subjected to torture, 
and he confessed that he had been sent to kill the king, saying, 
"This was the purpose of the man who sent me." Since the king 
knew that the hatred of many men was united on him and he feared 
that he would be stabbed, he had given orders to his men to guard 
him well and no opportunity could be found to get at him with 
swords unless he was attacked in the church, where he was known 
to stand without care or fear. Now the men who had been named 
were seized and many were executed, but he let this man go alive, 
though severely beaten, because he thought it a crime that a man 
should be led out of church and beheaded. 

[4. A second son, Theodoric, is born to Childebert. 5. Prodi- 
gies. Among others a village with cottages and men disappeared 

6. There was in that year in the city of Tours a man named 
Desiderius who claimed to be great and said he could do many 
miracles. He boasted too that messengers were kept busy going 
to and fro between him and the apostles Peter and Paul. And as 
I was not at home, the common folk thronged to him bringing the 



blind and lame but he did not attempt to cure them by holiness but 
to fool them with the delusion of necromancy. For he ordered 
paralytics and other cripples to be vigorously stretched as if he 
were going to cure by taking pains those whose limbs he could not 
straighten by the blessing of the divine virtue. And so his attend- 
ants would lay hold of a man's hands and others his feet, and pull 
in opposite directions so that one would think their sinews would 
be broken, and when they were not cured they would be sent off 
half-dead. And the result was that many died under this torture. 
And the wretch was so presumptuous that he said he was blessed 
Martin the younger and put himself on a par with the apostles. 
And it is no wonder that he compared himself with the apostles 
when that author of wickedness from whom such things proceed 
is going to assert toward the end of the world that he is Christ. 
Now it was known from the following fact that he was versed in 
the wicked art of necromancy as we have said above, because, as 
they say who observed him, when any one said any evil of him far 
away and secretly he would rebuke them publicly and say : "You 
said so and so about me and it was not right to say such things of 
a holy man like me." Now how else could he have learned of it 
except that demons were his messengers ? He wore a hood and a 
goat's-hair shirt and in public he was abstemious in eating and 
drinking, but in secret when he had come to his lodgings he would 
stuff his mouth so that his servant could not carry food to him as 
fast as he asked for it. But his trickery was exposed and stopped 
by our people and he was cast out from the territory of the city. 
We did not know then where he went, but he said he was a citizen 
of Bordeaux. Now seven years before there had been another 
great impostor who deceived many by his tricks. He wore a 
sleeveless shirt and over it a robe of fine stuff and carried a cross 
from which hung little bottles which contained as he said holy 
oil. He said that he came from the Spains and was bringing relics 
of the blessed martyrs Vincent the deacon and Felix. He arrived 
at Tours at the church of Saint Martin in the evening when we 
were sitting at dinner, and sent an order saying : "Let them come to 
see the holy relics." As the hour was late I replied: "Let the 
blessed relics rest on the altar and we will go to see them in the 
morning." But he arose at the first break of day and without 


waiting for me came with his cross and appeared in my cell. I was 
amazed and wondered at his hardihood and asked what this meant. 
He answered in a proud and haughty voice: "You should have 
given me a better welcome ; I'll carry this to the ears of king Chil- 
peric; he will avenge this contemptuous treatment of me." He 
paid no more attention to me but went into the oratory and said 
a verse, then a second and a third, began the prayer and finished 
it, all by himself, then took up his cross again and went off. He had 
a rude style of speech and was free with disgusting and obscene 
terms and not a sensible word came from him. He went on to 
Paris. In those days the public prayers were being held that are 
usually held before the holy day of the Lord's ascension. And as 
bishop Ragnemod was walking in procession with his people and 
making the round of the holy places, this person came with his cross 
and appearing among the people with his unusual clothing, he 
gathered the prostitutes and women of the lower class and formed 
a band of his own and made an attempt to walk in procession to the 
holy places with his multitude. The bishop saw this and sent his 
archdeacon to say : "If you have relics of the saints to show, place 
them for a little in the church and celebrate the holydays with 
us, and when the rites are finished you shall go on your way." But 
he paid little attention to what the archdeacon said but began to 
abuse and revile the bishop. The bishop saw that he was an 
impostor and ordered him, shut up in a cell. And examining all 
he had, he found a great bag full of roots of different herbs and also 
there were moles' teeth, the bones of mice, the claws and fat of 
bears. He knew that these were the means of sorcery and ordered 
them all thrown into the river ; he took his cross away and ordered 
him tg be driven from the territory of Paris. But he made him- 
self a second cross and began to do what he had done before, but 
was captured and put in chains by the archdeacon and kept in 
custody. In these days I had come to Paris and had my lodging 
at the church of the blessed martyr Julian. The following night 
the wretch broke out of prison and hastened to Saint Julian's 
church just mentioned, wearing the chains with which he was bound, 
and fell on the pavement where I had been accustomed to stand 
and, overwhelmed with drowsiness and wine, he fell asleep. Un- 
aware of this I rose at midnight to return thanks to God and found 


him sleeping. And such a stench came from him that that stench 
surpassed the stenches of all sewers and privies. I was unable to 
go into the church because of the stench. And one of the clergy 
came holding his nose and tried to wake him but could not ; for 
the wretch was so intoxicated. Then four of the clergy came and 
lifted him and threw him into one corner of the church, and they 
brought water and washed the pavement and scattered sweet- 
smelling herbs on it and so I went in to offer the regular prayers. 
But he could not be wakened even when we sang the psalms until 
with the coming of day the sun's torch climbed higher. Then 
I surrendered him to the bishop with a request for his pardon. 
When the bishops assembled at Paris I told this at dinner and bade 
him be brought to receive correction. And when he stood by, 
Amelius, bishop of Tarbes, looked at him and recognized him as 
his slave who had run away. He secured his pardon and so took 
him back to his native place. There are many who practise these 
impostures and continually lead the common people into error. 
It is of these I think that the Lord says in the Gospel that in the 
latest times false Christs and false prophets shall arise who shall 
do signs and wonders and lead the very elect into error. Let this 
suffice for this subject ; let us rather return to our task. 

[7. Ennodius, duke of Tours and Poitiers, is removed from 
office. The Gascons make an inroad on Frankish territory, and 
also the Goths. 8. Childebert desires to punish Gunthram Boso 
for the insults he had offered to Brunhilda during Childebert's 
minority. 9. Rauchingus, Ursio, and Bertefred, enemies of 
Brunhilda, plot Childebert's death. Rauchingus is trapped and 
brutally killed. Ursio and Bertefred take refuge in a stronghold.] 

10. While this was going on king Gunthram sent a second time 
to his nephew Childebert saying : " Let there be no delay ; come, 
that I may see you. For it is surely necessary for your own life 
as well as for the public welfare that we see one another." Hear- 
ing this he took his mother, sister, and wife and hastened to meet 
his uncle. Bishop Magneric of the city of Treves was present also, 
and Gunthram Boso came, whom bishop Ageric of Verdun had 
received in custody. But the bishop who had pledged his faith 
for him was not present, because the agreement was that he should 
appear before the king without any defender so that if the king 


decided that he must die he was not to be begged off by the bishop ; 
and if the king granted him life he would go free. Now the kings 
met and he was judged guilty on various grounds and was ordered 
to be put to death. When he learned it he flew to Magneric's 
lodging and shutting the doors and sending the clerks and attend- 
ants away he said : "Most blessed bishop, I know that you have 
great honor with the kings. And now I flee to you to be rescued. 
Behold, the executioners are at the door, whence you may plainly 
know that if you do not save me I shall kill you and go outside and 
die. Let me tell you plainly that either one death overtakes us 
or an equal life shall protect us. O holy bishop, I know that you 
share with the king the place of father to his son 1 and I am sure that 
whatever you ask you will obtain from him; he will not be able 
to deny your holiness anything you demand. Therefore either 
obtain my pardon or we shall die together." He said this with his 
sword unsheathed. The bishop was alarmed at what he heard 
and said : "And how can I do it if I am kept here by you. Let 
me go to beg the king's mercy and perhaps he will pity you." But 
he replied : "By no means, but send abbots and men you trust to 
carry the message I propose." However, these matters were not 
reported as they were to the king, but they said that he was being 
protected by the bishop. And so the king was angry and said : 
"If the bishop refuses to come out let him die together with that 
doer of wickedness." The bishop when he was told this sent mes- 
sengers to the king. And when they had told their story king 
Gunthram said: "Set fire to the house and if the bishop cannot 
come out let them be burned together." The clerks on hearing 
this burst open the door by force and got the bishop out. Then 
when the wretch saw that he was hemmed in by great flames on 
every side he approached the door with his sword. But as soon as 
he left the threshold and set foot outside at once one of the people 
threw a lance and struck his forehead. He was confused by this 
stroke and lost his head and tried to throw his sword but he was 
wounded by the bystanders with such a multitude of lances that 
with the heads sticking in his body and the shafts supporting him 
he was unable to fall to the earth. A few who were with him were 
killed and exposed on the field at the same time. And permission 

1 Godfather. 


to bury them was obtained from the princes only with difficulty. 
This man was faithless, headlong in avarice, greedy for other men's 
property beyond limit, swearing to all and fulfilling his promises 
to none. His wife and sons were sent into exile and his property 
confiscated. A great quantity of gold and silver and of valuables 
of different sorts was found in his stores. Moreover what he had 
concealed underground from a consciousness of wrongdoing did 
not remain hidden. He often made use of soothsayers and lots, 
desiring to learn the future from them, but was always deceived. 

[n. Gunthram and Childebert settle their differences amicably. 

12. Ursio and Bertefred are dislodged from their stronghold and 

slain. 13. Baddo is allowed to go free. Dysentery is severe 

in Metz. Wiliulf's wife marries a third time. 14. Bishop Egidius 

of Rheims makes his peace with 'Childebert.] 

15. Now at that time in Spain king Richared was influenced 
by the divine mercy and summoned the bishops of his religion and 
said to them: "Why are quarrels continually going on between 
you and the bishops who call themselves Catholic, and when they 
do many miracles by their faith why can you do nothing of the sort ? 
Therefore I beg you let us meet with them and examine the beliefs 
of both sides and find out what is true ; and then either let them 
take our plan and believe what you say or else you recognize their 
truth and believe what they preach." This was done and the 
bishops of both sides gathered and the heretics expounded the 
doctrines that I have often described them as advocating. Like- 
wise the bishops of our religion made the replies by which, as I 
have pointed out in the previous books, the heretics have been often 
defeated. And above all the king said that no miraculous cure of 
the infirm had been done by the bishops of the heretics, and when 
he recalled to mind how in his father's time the bishop who boasted 
that he could restore sight to the blind by his faith which was not 
the true one had touched a blind man and [thus] condemned him 
to perpetual blindness and had come off in confusion I have 
told this story more fully in the book of The Miracles he sum- 
moned God's bishops to him separately. And by questioning them 
he learned that it was one God that was worshiped with distinction 
of three persons, namely, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and the 
Son was not inferior to the Father nor the Holy Ghost, nor the 


Holy Ghost inferior to the Father nor the Son, but they were equal 
and alike all-powerful, and in this Trinity they confessed the true 
God. Then Richared perceived the truth and ending the argu- 
ment he placed himself under the Catholic law, and receiving the 
sign of the blessed cross together with baptism he believed in Jesus 
Christ son of God, equal to the Father and the Holy Ghost, reigning 
for ages of ages. Amen. Then he sent messengers to the province 
of Narbonne to tell what he had done and bring the people to a like 
belief. The bishop of the Arian sect there at the time was Athalo- 
cus who caused such trouble to God's churches by his vain doc- 
trines and false interpretations of the Scriptures that he was be- 
lieved to be the very Arius who, as the historian Eusebius relates, 
lost his entrails in a privy. But when he did not allow the people 
of his sect to believe these things and only a few flattered him by 
agreeing with him he was transported with spite and went to his 
cell and laid his head on the bed and breathed out his worthless 
soul. And thus the heretics in the province confessed the insepa- 
rable Trinity and departed from error. 

[16. King Richared sends an embassy to Gunthram and Childe- 
bert. It is not received by Gunthram. 17. An unusually cold 
spring. 1 8. The Bretons ravage the territory of Nantes.] 

19. The feud among the citizens of Tours which, as we have 
stated above, was ended, burst out again with renewed fury. After 
slaying Chramsind's kinsmen Sichar had become very friendly 
with him, and they loved one another so dearly that they often 
ate together and slept together in one bed. Once Chramsind made 
ready a dinner towards night and invited Sichar. He came and 
they sat down together to dinner. And Sichar became drunk with 
wine and made many boasts to Chramsind, and he is reported to 
have said at last: "Dearest brother, you owe me great gratitude 
for killing your kinsmen since you got payment for them and you 
have much gold and silver in your house, and if that payment had 
not given you a start you would now be naked and in need." But 
Chramsind heard Sichar's word with a bitter heart and said within 
himself : " Unless I avenge my kinsmen's death I ought to lose the 
name of man and be called a weak woman." And at once he ex- 
tinguished the lights and plunged his dagger into Sichar's head. 
Sichar made a little cry and immediately fell and died. The attend- 


ants who had come with him rushed away. Chramsind stripped 
the garments from his lifeless body and hung it on a picket of the 
fence and mounted his horse and went to the king. He entered 
the church and threw himself at the king's feet and said: "I beg 
for my life, O glorious king, because I have killed men who slew 
my kinsmen secretly and plundered all their property." But when 
the case was gone into in detail queen Brunhilda was displeased 
that Sichar, who was under her protection, had been killed in such 
a way, and she became angry at Chramsind. When he saw that 
she was against him he went to Bouges, a village in the territory 
of Bourges where his kinsmen lived, because it was in Gunthram's 
kingdom. And Tranquilla, Sichar's wife, left her. sons and her hus- 
band's property in Tours and Poitiers and went to her kinsmen at 
Pont-sur-Seine and there married again. Sichar was twenty years 
old when he died. He was in his lifetime a fickle, drunken, murderous 
person, who offered insults to many when he was drunk. Later 
Chramsind returned to the king and it was decided that he must 
prove that Sichar had killed his kinsmen. This he did. But 
since queen Brunhilda had placed Sichar under her protection, as 
we have said, she ordered Chramsind's property to be confiscated. 
But later it was returned by the court official Flavian. In addi- 
tion he went to Agen and got a letter from Flavian directing that 
no one should touch him. Flavian had received his property from 
the queen. 

20. In that year, which was also the thirteenth of king Childe- 
bert, I went to visit him at the city of Metz, and received orders 
to go on an embassy to king Gunthram. I found him at Chalon 
and said : "O famous king, your glorious nephew Childebert sends 
you many greetings and offers endless thanks to your goodness 
because he is continually reminded by you to do the things that 
please God and are acceptable to you and of advantage to the 
people. As regards the matters of which you spoke together he 
promises to fulfil everything and engages not to break any of the 
agreements which are made in writing between you." And the 
king said to this : " I do not offer him like thanks, because his prom- 
ises to me are being broken. My part of Senlis is not surrendered ; 
the men whom I wished to go for my good, since they are my ene- 
mies, they have not let go. And in what sense do you mean that 


my sweet nephew does not wish to break any of his written agree- 
ments ? " To this I answered : "He wishes to do nothing contrary 
to those agreements but promises to fulfil them all, so that if you 
wish to send [men] to divide Senlis there need be no delay ; for you 
shall receive your own at once. And as to the men you mention 
let their names be given in writing and all that is promised shall 
be fulfilled." We spoke of these matters and the king ordered the 
agreement itself to be read over again in the presence of the by- 
Copy of the Agreement. 

When the most excellent lords, kings Gunthram and Childe- 
bert, and the most glorious lady queen Brunhilda met lovingly in 
Christ's name at Andelot to arrange with full counsel whatever 
might in any way cause a quarrel among them, it was affectionately 
settled, resolved upon and agreed between them by the mediation 
of the bishops and chief men and the help of God, that as long as 
all powerful God wished them to live in the present world they 
ought to keep faith and affection pure and undefiled for each other. 
In the same way since lord Gunthram in accordance with the 
agreement which he had entered into with lord Sigibert of good 
memory, claimed that the whole share which Sigibert had received 
from Charibert's kingdom belonged entirely to him and [since] the 
party of lord Childebert wished to claim from all what his father 
had possessed, it is definitely and deliberately agreed between them 
that the third of the city of Paris with its territory and people 
which had gone to lord Sigibert from Charibert's kingdom by writ- 
ten agreement, with the castles of Chateaudun and Vendome and 
whatever the said king received of the district of Etampes and the 
territory of Chartres in that direction, with their lands and people, 
were to remain perpetually under the authority and rule of lord 
Gunthram, with that which he held before from Charibert's king- 
dom while lord Sigibert was alive. In like manner king Childebert 
asserts his right from the present to Meaux and to two-thirds of 
Senlis, Tours, Poitiers, Avranches, Aire, Saint Lizier, Bayonne, and 
Albi with their territories. The condition being observed that he 
of these kings whom the Lord wills to survive shall have a perpetual 
right to the whole kingdom of him who goes from the light of the 
present world without children, and by God's aid shall leave it to 


his descendants. It is especially agreed upon to be in every way 
inviolably observed that whatever the lord king Gunthram has 
given or by God's favor shall give to his daughter Clodechild in 
goods and men, both cities, lands, and revenues, shall remain under 
her ownership and control. And if she wishes of her own free will 
to dispose of lands belonging to the fisc or valuable articles or money, 
or to bestow them on any one, let it be kept with a good title for- 
ever and not be taken from any one at any time, and let her be 
under the protection and defense of lord Childebert, since she ought 
to possess in all honor and security everything that he finds her in 
possession of at her father's death. Likewise the lord king Gun- 
thram promises that if in the uncertainty of human life lord Childe- 
bert should happen to pass from the light while he is living, 
may the divine goodness not allow it and Gunthram does not wish to 
see it he will receive under his protection and guardianship like 
a good father Childebert's sons Theodobert and Theodoric and 
any others that God wishes to give him, so that they shall possess 
their father's kingdom in all security; and he will receive under 
his protection with a spiritual love lord Childebert's mother, queen 
Brunhilda, and her daughter Clodosind, sister of king Childebert, 
while she is in the country of the Franks, and his queen Faileuba 
like a good sister and daughters, and they shall possess all their 
property in all honor and dignity with peace and security, namely, 
cities, lands, revenues, and all rights, and every kind of property, 
both what they actually possess at the present time and what they 
are able justly to acquire in the future by Christ's aid, and if they 
wish to dispose of any of the lands of the fisc or articles or money 
of their own free will, or to present them to any one, let it be kept 
with a good title forever, and let their will in this respect not be dis- 
regarded by any one at any time. And as to the cities, namely, 
Bordeaux, Limoges, Cahors, Lescar, and Cieutat, which it is well 
known that Galsuntha, lady Brunhilda's sister, acquired as dowry 
or morganegyba, that is, morning gift, when she came into Francia, 
and which lady Brunhilda is known to have acquired by the deci- 
sion of the glorious lord king Gunthram and of the Franks when 
Chilperic and king Sigibert were still alive, it is agreed that the 
lady Brunhilda shall have as her property from to-day the city of 
Cahors with its lands and all its people, but the other cities named 


lord Gunthram shall hold while he lives, on condition that after 
his death they shall pass by God's favor with every security under 
the control of the lady Brunhilda and her heirs, but while lord Gun- 
thram lives they shall not at any time or on any pretext be claimed 
by lady Brunhilda or her son king Childebert or his sons. In the 
same way it is agreed that lord Childebert shall hold Senlis in en- 
tirety, and as far as the third therein due to lord Gunthram is 
concerned he shall be compensated by the third belonging to lord 
Childebert which is in Ressons. Likewise it is agreed that accord- 
ing to the agreements entered into between lord Gunthram and 
lord Sigibert of blessed memory, the leudes who originally took 
oath to lord Gunthram after the death of lord Clothar, if afterwards 
they are proved to have gone to the other side, shall be removed 
from the places where they are dwelling, and in the same manner 
those who after the death of king Clothar are found guilty of hav- 
ing first sworn allegiance to lord Sigibert and then have passed to 
the other side shall be removed likewise. Also whatever the kings 
mentioned have given to churches or to their followers, or in future 
by God's favor wish to give in accordance with justice, shall be 
held securely. And whatever is due to any one of their men in 
either kingdom according to law and justice, he shall not suffer 
any prejudice, but shall be permitted to take and hold what is due 
him; and if anything is taken from anyone without fault on his 
part in an interregnum, a hearing shall be held and it shall be re- 
stored. And as regards that which each owned through the generos- 
ity of previous kings down to the death of lord king Clothar of 
glorious memory, let him keep it in security. And whatever has 
been taken since that from persons who are faithful let them receive 
it back at once. And since a pure and untainted friendship has 
been formed in God's name between the kings mentioned, it is 
agreed that passage shall at no time be denied in either kingdom 
to the men of either king who wish to travel on public or private 
business. It is likewise agreed that neither shall entice away the 
others leudes or receive them when they come. And if perhaps 
one thinks that because of some act he has to flee to the other part, 
let him be excused in regard to the nature of the fault and sent 
back. It has been decided also to add this to the agreement, that 
if either party shall at any time transgress the present statute 


under some clever interpretation, he shall lose all the benefits both 
prospective and present, and it shall turn to the advantage of him 
who faithfully observes all that is written above, and he shall be 
freed in all details from the obligation of his oath. All these mat- 
ters having been definitely agreed upon, the parties swear by the 
name of all-powerful God and the inseparable Trinity and all that 
is divine and the awful day of judgment that they will faithfully 
observe all that is written above without any fraud or deceit. This 
compact was made four days before the Kalends of December in 
the twenty-sixth year of the reign of the lord king Gunthram and 
in the twelfth year of lord Childebert. 

When the agreement was read over the king said: "May I 
be struck by the judgment of God if I transgress in any one of the 
matters contained here." And he turned to the legate Felix who 
had come with us and said : "Tell me, Felix, have you established 
a close friendship between my sister Brunhilda and Fredegunda 
the enemy of God and man ? ' ' When he replied " no " I said : ' ' Let 
the king be sure that the friendship is being kept up between them 
as it was started many years ago. For you may be certain that 
the hatred that was once established between them is alive yet, it 
ha's not withered up. I wish you, most glorious king, would have 
less friendship for her. For as we often learn, you receive her 
embassies with greater state than ours." He answered: "Let 
me tell you, bishop of God, that I receive her embassies in such a 
way as not to lose the affection of my nephew king Childebert. 
For I cannot be friendly with one who has often sent to take my 
life." Upon this Felix said : " I suppose it has come to your great- 
ness that Richared has sent an embassy to your nephew to ask for 
your niece Clodosinda, your brother's daughter, in marriage. But 
he was unwilling to make any promise without your advice." The 
king said : "It is not well for my niece to go to a place where her 
sister was killed. I am not at all pleased that the death of my niece 
Ingunda is not avenged." Felix replied : "They are very anxious 
to set themselves right either by oath or on any other terms you 
suggest ; but only give your consent for Clotosinda to be betrothed 
to him as he requests." The king said : "If my nephew keeps the 
agreements that he bound himself to in the compact I will do his 
will in this matter." We promised that he would fulfil all and 


Felix added: "He begs your goodness to give him help against 
the Lombards so that they may be driven from Italy and the part 
which his father claimed when alive may return to him, and the 
other part be restored by your and his aid to the dominion of the 
emperor." The king replied: "I cannot send my army to Italy 
and expose the soldiers to death uselessly. For a very severe plague 
is now wasting Italy." And I said : "You have told your nephew 
to have all the bishops of his kingdom meet together since there 
are many things to be decided. But it was the opinion of your 
glorious nephew that each metropolitan according to the custom of 
the canons should meet with his provincials, and then what went 
wrong in each district would be set right by order of the bishops. 
For what reason is there that so great a number should assemble ? 
The faith of the church is not attacked by any danger; no new 
heresy is appearing. What need will there be for so many bishops 
to meet together?" And he said: "There is much to be looked 
into that has gone wrong, both acts of incest and matters which are 
in discussion between us. But the most important case of all is 
that of God, since you must investigate why bishop Praetextatus 
was slain by the sword in his church. Moreover there ought to 
be an examination of those who are accused of wantonness so that 
if found guilty they can be corrected by the bishops' sentence, or 
if they prove innocent that the falsity of the charge can be publicly 
recognized." Then he gave orders for the synod to be adjourned 
to the Kalends of the fourth month. 1 After this conversation we 
went to church ; it was the day of the anniversary of the Lord's 
resurrection. After mass he invited us to a dinner which was as 
abundant in dishes as rich in cheer. For the king talked always of 
God, building churches and helping the poor, and then he made 
pious jokes and to please us he went on to say this : "I hope 
my nephew will keep his promises ; for all I have is his. Still, 
if he is disturbed because I receive my nephew Clothar's legates, 
I'm not so mad, am I, but that I can mediate between them and 
keep the trouble from going further? I know it is better to cut 
it short than to carry it too far. If I decide that Clothar is my 
nephew 1 will give him two or three cities in some part, so that he 
shall not seem to be disinherited, and what I leave to Childebert 

1 June. 


will not then disquiet him." After this talk he bade us go on our 
way, treating us affectionately and loading us with gifts, and tell- 
ing us always to give king Childebert good advice to live by. 

21. The king himself, as we have often said, was great in alms- 
giving and unwearied in watches and fasting. It was told at the 

. time that Marseilles was suffering greatly from the bubonic plague 
and that the disease had spread swiftly as far as the village in the 
country of Lyons called Octavus. But the king like a good bishop 
was for providing remedies by which the wounds of the sinful people 
could be cured, and ordered all to assemble at the church and en- 
gage devoutly in prayer. He directed that no-thing else than bar- 
ley bread and clean water should be taken in the way of food and 
that all without intermission should keep watch. And this was 
done and for three days he gave alms with more than usual generos- 
ity and he showed such fear for all the people that he was now be- 
lieved to be not merely a king but a bishop of God, placing all his 
hope in God's mercy, and in the purity of his faith turning all his 
thoughts to him by whom he believed that these thoughts could 
be given effect. It was then commonly told among the faithful 
that a woman whose son was suffering from a four-day fever and 
was lying in bed very ill, approached the king's back in the throng 
of people and secretly broke off the fringe of the royal garment and 
put it in water and gave to her son to drink, and at once the fever 
died down and he was cured. I do not regard this as doubtful 
since I have myself heard persons possessed by demons in their 
furies call on his name and admit their ill deeds, recognizing his 

22. Since we have told above that the city of Marseilles was 
sick with a deadly plague it seems suitable to give more details of 
what the city suffered. In these days bishop Theodore had gone 
to the king to speak to him against the patrician Nicetius. But 
when he got no hearing from king Childebert on this matter he 
made ready to return home. Meantime a ship from Spain put in 
at the port with its usual wares and unhappily brought the seed 
of this disease. And many citizens bought various merchandise 
from her, and one household in which were eight souls was quickly 
left vacant, its inmates all dying of this plague. But the fire of 
the plague did not at once spread through all the houses, but after 


a definite time like a fire in standing grain it swept the whole city 
with the flame of disease. However the bishop went to the city 
and shut himself within the walls of St. Victor's church with the 
few who then remained with him, and there devoted himself to 
prayer and watching while the people of the city perished, praying 
for God's mercy that the deaths might at length cease and the 
people be allowed to rest in peace. The plague passed away in 
two months, and when the people, now reassured, had returned 
to the city the disease came on again and they who returned per- 
ished. Later on the city was many times attacked by this death. 

[23. Ageric, bishop of Verdun, dies of chagrin because Gunthram 
Boso, whose safety he had pledged, had been killed, and because 
Bertefred had been killed in his oratory. 24. Phronius the new* 
bishop of Vence. 25. Childebert makes war on the Lombards 
and suffers a defeat "the like of which in former times is not 
recalled." 26. Gregory assists queen Ingoberga in making her 

27. Duke Amalo sent his wife to another estate to attend to 
his interests, and fell in love with a certain free-born girl. And 
when it was night and Amalo was drunk with wine he sent his men 
to seize the girl and bring her to his bed. She resisted and they 
brought her by force to his house, slapping her, and she was stained 
by a torrent of blood that ran from her nose. And even the bed 
of the duke mentioned above was made bloody by the stream. 
And he beat her, too, striking with his fists and cuffing her and 
beating her otherwise, and took her in his arms, but he was im- 
mediately overwhelmed with drowsiness and went to sleep. And 
she reached her hand over the man's head and found his sword and 
drew it, and like Judith Holofernes struck the duke's head a power- 
ful blow. He cried out and his slaves came quickly. But when 
they wished to kill her he called out saying : "I beg you do not do 
it, for it was I who did wrong in attempting to violate her chastity. 
Let her not perish for striving to keep her honor." Saying this he 
died. And while the household was assembled weeping over him 
the girl escaped from the house by God's help and went in the 
night to the city of Chalon about thirty-five miles away; and 
there she entered the church of Saint Marcellus and threw herself 
at the king's feet and told all she had endured. Then the king was 


merciful and not only gave her her life but commanded that an 
order be given that she should be placed under his protection and 
should not suffer harm from any kinsman of the dead man. More- 
over we know that by God's help the girl's chastity was not in 
any way violated by her savage ravisher. 

[28. Brunhilda's messenger to the Spanish king is detained by 

Gunthram. 29. Childebert sends an army against the Lombards.] 

30. King Childebert at the invitation of Bishop Maroveus 

sent assessors to Poitiers, namely, Florientian, the queen's major- 

. domo, and Romulf, count of the palace, to make new tax lists in 
order that the people might pay the taxes they had paid in his 
father's time. For many of them were dead arid the weight of the 
tribute came on widows and orphans and the weak. And they 
made an orderly examination and released the poor and sick and 
subjected to the public tax those who should justly pay. And so 
they came to Tours. But when they wished to impose the pay- 
ment of taxes on the people, saying they had the book in their 
hands, showing how they had paid in the time of previous kings, 

I answered saying: "It is well known that the city of Tours was 
assessed in the time of king Clothar and those books were taken 
to the presence of the king, but the king was stricken with fear of 
the holy bishop Martin and they were burned. After king Clo- 
thar's death this people swore allegiance to king Charibert and he 
likewise swore that he would not impose new laws or customs on 
the people but would thereafter maintain them in the status in 
which they lived in his father's reign, and he promised that he 
would not impose any new ordinance which would tend to despoil 
them. And count Gaiso in the same time began to exact tribute, 
following a capitulary which we have said was written at a more 
ancient time. But being stopped by bishop Euphronius he went 
with the little he had collected to the king's presence and pointed 
to the capitulary in which the tributes were contained. But the 
king uttered a groan and fearing the power of Saint Martin he had 
it burned, and sent back the gold coins that had been collected to 
the church of Saint Martin, asserting that no one of the people of 
Tours should pay tribute. After his death king Sigibert ruled 
this city and did not lay upon it the weight of any tribute. More- 
over in the fourteen years of his reign from his father's death up to 


now Childebert has demanded nothing, and this city has not 
groaned with the burden of tribute. It is now for your decision 
whether to assess tribute or not ; but be careful lest you do some 
harm if you plan to go against his oath." When I had said this 
they answered : " Behold, we have the book in our hands in which 
a tax was imposed on this people." But I said : "This book was 
not brought from the king's treasury and it has had no authority 
for many years. It is no wonder, considering the enmities among 
these citizens, if it has been kept in some one's house. God will 
give judgment on those who have brought out this book after so 
long a time to despoil our citizens." And while this was going on 
the son of Audinus, who had brought out the book, was seized 
with a fever on the very day and died three days after. We then 
sent messengers to the king asking him to send his commands on 
this matter. And they at once sent a letter ordering that out of 
respect for Saint Martin the people of Tours should not be assessed. 
Upon receipt of the letter the men who had come for this purpose 
returned home. 

[31. An expedition of king Gunthram against Septimania is 
defeated. 32. Misunderstanding between Childebert and Gun- 
thram. 33. Quarrel between Ingytrude, head of the convent 
within St. Martin's walls, and her daughter.] 

34. Rigunda, daughter of Chilperic, often made malicious 
charges against her mother and said that she was mistress and that 
her mother ought to serve her, and often attacked her with abuse 
and sometimes struck and slapped her, and her mother said to 
her: "Why do you annoy me, daughter? Come, take your 
father's things that I have and do as you please with them." And 
she went into the store-room and opened a chest quite full of neck- 
laces and costly jewels. For a long time she took them out one 
by one and handed them to her daughter but finally said : "I am 
tired ; you put in your hand and take what you find." And she 
thrust in her arm and was taking things from the chest when her 
mother seized the lid and slammed it down on her head. And she 
was holding it down firmly and the lower board was pressing 
against her daughter's throat so that her eyes were actually ready 
to pop out when one of the maids who was within called loudly : 
"Run, I beg you, run; my mistress is being choked to death by 


her mother." And those who were awaiting their coming outside 
rushed into the little room and saved the girl from threatening 
death and led her out. After that their enmity was more bitter 
and there were continual quarrels and fighting between them, 
above all because of the adulteries Rigunda was guilty of. 

35. Beretrude, when dying, appointed her daughter heir, 
leaving certain property to the nunneries she had founded and to 
the cathedrals and churches of the holy confessors. But Waddo, 
whom we mentioned in a former book, complained that his horses 
had been taken by her son-in-law, and he proposed to go to an 
estate of hers which she had left to her daughter and which was 
within the territory of Poitiers, saying: "He came from another 
kingdom and took my horses and I will take his estate." Mean- 
time he sent orders to the bailiff that he was coming and to make 
everything ready for his use. The bailiff on hearing this gathered 
all the household and got ready to fight, saying: " Unless I'm 
killed Waddo shall not enter my master's house." Waddo's wife 
heard that warlike preparations were being made against her hus- 
band, and she said to him: "Do not go there, dear husband; for 
you will be killed if you go and my children and I will be miserable." 
And she laid hold of him and wished to detain him, and her son 
also said: "If you go, we will be killed together and you will 
leave my mother a widow and my brothers orphans." But these 
words altogether failed to hold him back and he was enflamed with 
madness at his son, and calling him cowardly and soft he threw 
his ax and almost crushed his skull. But the son dashed it partly 
aside and escaped the stroke. Then they mounted their horses 
and went off, sending word again to the bailiff to sweep the house 
and spread covers on the benches. But he paid little attention to 
the order and stood with his throngs of men and women before his 
master's door, as we have said, awaiting Waddo's coming. He 
came and at once entered the house and said: "Why are these 
benches not spread with covers and the house swept?" And he 
raised his hand with his dagger in it and struck the man's head and 
he fell and died. Upon seeing this the dead man's son hurled his 
lance from in front against Waddo and pierced the middle of his 
belly with the blow, and the spear-head came out of his back and 
he fell to the ground, and the multitude which had gathered drew 


near and began to stone him. Then certain of those who had come 
with him rushed up amid the showers of stones and covered him 
with a cloak and the people were calmed, and his son, uttering 
mournful cries, got him upon his horse and took him back home 
still living. But he died soon amid the laments of his wife and 
sons. And so his life was unhappily ended and his son went to 
the king and obtained his property. 

[36. Childebert sends his son Theodobert to represent him in 
Soissons. 37. Bishop Droctigisil goes insane from excessive drink-* 
ing or because evil arts had been practiced on him. 38. A plot 
against Brunhilda and Childebert's wife. 39-43. The story in 
detail of the secession of forty nuns from the convert at Poitiers, 
with documents involved in the case. 44. The weather.] 




1. Pope Gregory of Rome. 

2. Return of the legate Grippo from the emperor Maurice. 

3. King Childebert's army goes into Italy. 

4. The emperor Maurice sends the slayers of the legates to the Gauls. 

5. Chuppa attacks the territory of Tours. 

6. The prisoners in Clermont. 

7. In the same city king Childebert remits the tribute of the clergy. 

8. Eulalius and Tetradia who had been his wife. 

9. King Gunthram's army which marched into Brittany. 

10. Killing of Chundo his chamberlain. 

11. Sickness of the younger Clothar. 

12. Berthegunda's wickedness. 

13. Argument on the resurrection. 

14. Death of the deacon Theodulf. 

15. Scandal at the convent at Poitiers. 

1 6. The judgment on Chrodield and Basina. 

17. Their excommunication. 

1 8. Assassins sent to king Childebert. 

19. Removal of Egidius bishop of Rheims. 

20. The nuns mentioned above are pardoned at this synod. 

21. Killing of Waddo's sons. 

22. Killing of the Saxon Childeric. 

23. Prodigies and the uncertainty about Easter. 

24. The destruction of Antioch. 

25. Death of the man who said he was Christ. 

26. Death of bishops Ragnimod and Sulpicius. 

27. The men whom Fredegunda ordered to be put to death. 

28. Baptism of her son Clothar. 

29. The conversion, miracles, and death of the blessed Aridius abbot of Limoges. 

30. The year. 

31. List of the bishops of Tours. 




i. In the fifteenth year of king Childebert our deacon returned 
from Rome with relics of the saints and related that in the ninth 
month of the previous year the river Tiber so flooded the city of 
Rome that ancient temples were destroyed and the store-houses of 
the church were overturned and several thousand measures of 
wheat in them were lost. A multitude of snakes, among them a 
great serpent like a big log, passed down into the sea by the channel 
of this river, but these creatures were smothered among the rough 
and salty waves of the sea and cast up on the shore. Immediately 
after came the plague which they call inguinaria. 1 It came in the 
middle of the eleventh month and according to what is read in the 
prophet Ezekiel: "Begin at my sanctuary," it first of all smote 
the pope Pelagius and soon killed him. Upon his death a great 
mortality among the people followed from this disease. But since 
the church of God could not be without a head all the people 
chose Gregory the deacon. He belonged to one of the first senato- 
rial families and from his youth was devoted to God and with his 
own means had established six monasteries in Sicily and a seventh 
within the Roman walls ; and giving to these such an amount of 
land as would suffice to furnish their daily food, he sold the rest 
and all the furniture of his house and distributed the money among 
the poor ; and he who had been used to appear in the city arrayed 
in silken robes and glittering jewels was now clad in cheap garments, 
and he devoted himself to the service of the Lord's altar and was 
assigned as seventh levite to aid the pope. And such was his 
abstinence in- food, his sleeplessness in prayer, his determination in 
fasting that his stomach was weakened and he could scarcely 
stand upright. He was so versed in grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric 

1 Affecting the groin (ingueri) . The bubonic plague. 



that he was believed second to none in the city. He strove ear- 
nestly to avoid this high office for fear that a certain pride at attain- 
ing the honor might sweep him back into the worldly vanities he 
had rejected. And so he sent a letter to the emperor Mauritius 
whose son he had taken from the holy font, adjuring him and en- 
treating him with many prayers never to grant his consent to the 
people to raise him to this place of honor. But Germanus, prefect 
of Rome, forestalled the messenger and had him arrested and the 
letter destroyed, and himself sent to the emperor the choice which 
the people had made. And the emperor on account of his friend- 
ship with the deacon thanked God that he had found a place of 
honor and sent his command to appoint him. . . . 

[Because of the plague Gregory makes an address to the people 
of Rome to meet it by prayer.] 

When he spoke these words bands of clergy gathered and he 
bade them sing psalms for three days and pray for God's mercy. 
Every three hours choirs of singers came to the church crying 
through the streets of the city "Kyrie eleison." Our deacon who 
was there said that in the space of one hour while the people uttered 
cries of supplication to the Lord eighty fell to the ground and died. 
But the bishop did not cease to urge the people not to cease from 
prayer. It was from Gregory while he was still deacon that our 
deacon received the relics of the saints as we have said. 

And when Gregory was making ready to go to a hiding place 
he was seized and brought by force to the church of the blessed 
apostle Peter and there he was consecrated to the duties of bishop 
and made pope of the city. Our deacon did not leave until Gregory 
returned from the port to become bishop, and he saw his ordination 
with his own eyes. 

2. Grippo returned from the emperor Maurice and reported 
that in the preceding year he and his companions had taken ship 
and landed at an African port and gone on to Carthage the Great. 
While they were remaining there, awaiting the orders of the 
prefect who was in the city as to how they were to reach the em- 
peror's presence, one of the men belonging to Evantius, who had 
gone out with him, snatched an article of value from a trader's 
hand and took it to their lodging. The owner of the article fol- 
lowed him and demanded his property back. But the man put 


him off and the quarrel grew greater from day to day, and one day 
the trader met the man on the street and took hold of his clothes 
and held fast saying : "I'll never let you go until you return to my 
possession what you took by violence." But the other after try- 
ing to shake him off did not hesitate to snatch his sword and kill 
the fellow, and he at once returned to the lodging but did not dis- 
close to his comrades what had happened. Now as I have said 
the legates were Bodigisel, son of Mummolinus of Soissons, and 
Evantius, son of Dinamius of Aries, and this Grippo, a Frank, and 
they had arisen from dinner and retired to rest and sleep. But 
when the act of their man was reported to the ruler of the city he 
gathered soldiers and all the people put on their armor and he sent 
them to their lodging. But the legates were amazed on being 
wakened to see what was going on, having had no expectation of 
it. Then the leader cried out saying : "Lay your arms aside and 
come out to us, that we may peaceably learn how the homicide 
happened." On hearing this they were alarmed as they did not 
yet know what had happened, and they asked for a pledge so that 
they could go out safely without arms. The men swore that they 
could but their hastiness did not allow them to keep their oath. 
But soon after Bodigisil went out they killed him with the sword 
and likewise Evantius. And when they lay before the door of the 
lodging Grippo seized his armor and went out to them with the 
men he had with him, saying : "We do not know what has happened 
and behold here are the comrades of my journey who were sent to 
the emperor lying slain by the sword. God will avenge our wrong 
and will atone for their death by your destruction, since you 
butcher us in this way when we do not harm you but come in 
peace. There shall not be peace any longer between our kings and 
your emperor. It was for peace we came and to bring aid to your 
state. To-day I call God to witness that it is your crime that has 
caused the promised peace to be kept no longer between the 
princes." When Grippo had spoken these words and more to the 
same effect, this Carthaginian troop dispersed and each returned 
to his home. The prefect went to Grippo and attempted to calm 
him as to these occurrences and arranged for his going to the 
presence of the emperor. He went and told the business on which 
he had been sent and described the fate of his comrades. At this 


the emperor was greatly annoyed and promised to avenge their 
death in accordance with the judgment king Childebert should 
give. Then Grippo received gifts from the emperor and returned 
without being molested. 

3. These matters were related by Grippo to king Childebert, 
who at once commanded his army to march into Italy and sent 
twenty dukes to conquer the Lombards. I have not thought it 
necessary to set their names down here in order. But duke Audo- 
vald with Wintrio set the people of Champagne on the march and 
when he came to the city of Metz which is on the way he plundered, 
slew, and mistreated the inhabitants in such a manner that it might 
have been thought that he was leading an army against his own 
country. Moreover the other dukes did the same with their pha- 
lanxes and ravaged their own country and the people who remained 
behind, before they won any victory over the enemy. When they 
reached the Italian boundary Audovald with six dukes invaded 
the right side and reached the city of Milan, and there they pitched 
their camp at a distance on the plain. And duke Olo went rashly 
to Bellinzona, a stronghold of this city, situated on the plains called 
Canini, and was wounded with a dart under the nipple and fell 
and died. Moreover when they went out to plunder in order to 
get food, they were slain by the Lombards who rushed upon them 
everywhere. There was a lake in the territory of Milan called 
Ceresium l out of which a small but deep stream flowed. Upon 
the shore of this lake they heard that the Lombards were en- 
camped. They came to it, but before they could cross the stream 
we have mentioned one of the Lombards standing on the shore, 
armed with a coat of mail and helmet and carrying a lance in his 
hand, shouted against the army of the Franks, saying, " To-day 
it shall appear to whom the Divinity will grant a victory." It 
may be understood that the Lombards had arranged this as a sign. 
Then a few crossed and fought this Lombard and slew him. And 
behold the whole army of the Lombards took to flight. Our men 
crossed the river but found none of them, seeing only the camp 
arrangements, where they had their fires and pitched their tents. 
And when they could capture none of them they returned to their 
own camp and there the emperor's legates came to them bringing 

1 Lugano. 


the news that an army was at hand to help them, and saying, 
" After three days we will come with it, and this shall be a sign for 
you : when you see the houses of this village which is on the moun- 
tain burn with fire and the smoke rising up to heaven, be assured 
that we are close at hand with the army which we promised." 
However they waited according to agreement six days and saw 
none of them come. 

And Chedinus with thirteen dukes entered Italy on the left 
and took five strongholds and exacted oaths of fealty. But dysen- 
tery affected his army severely because the air was new to his 
men and disagreed with them and many died of it. But when 
the wind rose and it rained and the air began to freshen a little 
it brought health in place of sickness. Why more? For about 
three months they wandered through Italy without accomplishing 
anything or being able to take vengeance on their enemies, since 
they were shut up in strongholds, or to capture the king and take 
vengeance on him, since he was shut up within the walls of Pavia, 
and then the army sickened as we have said because of the un- 
healthfulness of the air and grew weak from hunger and prepared 
to return home after exacting oaths of fidelity and subjecting to 
the king's rule the people of the country which his father had held 
before and from which they took captives and other booty. And 
returning thus they were so starved that they sold their armor and 
clothing to buy food before they came to their native place. . . . 

4. Maurice caused the Carthaginians who had killed king Childe- 
bent's legates the previous year, to be bound and loaded with 
chains and sent them to Childebert's presence, twelve in number, 
under these conditions, that if he wished to put them to death he 
should have permission : or if he would allow them to be ransomed 
he should receive three hundred gold pieces for each and be con- 
tent; and thus he was to choose whichever he wished, that the 
disagreement might be more readily forgotten and no further cause 
of enmity arise between them. But king Childebert refused to 
accept the bound men and said: "It is uncertain in my mind 
whether these men you bring are the homicides or others, perhaps 
slaves of somebody or other, whereas our men who were killed in 
your country were free born." Grippo in particular, who had been 
legate at the time with the men who were killed, was present and 


said: "The prefect of the city with two or three thousand men 
whom he had gathered made an attack on us and killed my com- 
rades ; and I would have perished with them if I hadn't been able 
to make a brave defence. I can go to the place and identify the 
men. It is these that your emperor ought to punish if, as you 
say, he proposes to keep peace with our master." And so the king 
decided to send to the emperor for the guilty men and he bade these 

5. In these days Chuppa, who had once been king Chilperic's 
constable, made an inroad into the territory of Tours and desired 
to take flocks and other property as if he were taking booty. But 
the inhabitants had warning and a multitude gathered and began 
to pursue him. He lost his plunder and two of his men were 
killed : he escaped with nothing and two other men were captured ; 
they were sent in fetters to king Childebert. He ordered them to 
be thrown into prison and examined as to who it was by whose 
aid Chuppa escaped from being captured by his pursuers. They 
answered that it was through a stratagem of the vicar Animodus, 
who had the power of a judge in that district. At once the king 
sent a letter and ordered the count of the city to send him in chains 
to the king's presence ; and if he should attempt resistance he was 
to crush him by force and even kill him, if he wished to gain the 
king's favor. But Animodus made no resistance but gave sureties 
and went as he was told, and finding Flavian the court-official he 
pleaded together with his companion and was not found guilty; 
they were acquitted and ordered to return home. However he 
first gave presents to the court-official. Chuppa a second time 
roused some of his people and purposed to carry off the daughter 
of Badigysel, former bishop of Mans, to marry her. He made 
a night attack with a band of his companions on the village of 
Mareil to fulfil his purpose, but Magnatrude, the mother of the 
girl and head of the household, had warning of him and his treachery ; 
she went out against him with her slaves and repelled him by force, 
killing many of his men ; and he did not come off without disgrace. 
[6. Miraculous deliverance of prisoners in a jail in Auvergne.] 
7. In the same city king Childebert most piously remitted all 
the tribute of the churches as well as of the monasteries and of the 
clergy who were attached to a church and of whoever were en- 


gaged in cultivating the church land. For the collectors of the 
tribute had suffered great losses, since in the course of long time 
and succeeding generations the estates had been divided into small 
parts and the tribute could be collected only with difficulty, and 
Childebert by inspiration of God directed that the trouble should 
be remedied and the amount which was due to the fisc from these 
should not be exacted from the collectors, and that arrearage should 
not deprive any tiller of church land of his benefice. 

8. Where the territories of Auvergne, Gevaudan, and Rouergue 
meet, a synod of bishops was held to hear the case against Tetradia, 
widow of Desiderius, from whom count Eulalius claimed the 
property which she had taken with her when she fled from him. 
I think that I ought to relate this case in full detail and how she 
left Eulalius and fled to Desiderius. Eulalius, as a young man 
will, had behaved in several matters in a senseless fashion, and so 
it came about that he was often reproached by his mother and 
began to hate when he should have loved her. Now she used fre- 
quently to devote herself to prayer in the oratory of her house and 
to spend the watches of the night in prayer and tears while her 
servants slept, and at last she was found strangled in the hair 
shirt in which she prayed. And though no one knew who had 
done this nevertheless her son was charged with the murder. 
When Cautinus, bishop of Clermont, heard of this, he excommuni- 
cated him. But when the citizens gathered with the bishop at the 
festival of the blessed martyr Julian, Eulalius threw himself at 
the feet of the bishop complaining that he had been excommunicated 
without a hearing. Then the bishop permitted him to attend the 
service of the mass with the others. But when the time for com- 
munion came and Eulalius went forward to the altar the bishop 
said: "Common talk among the people declares that you are a 
murderer. Now I do not know whether you have done this crime 
or not : therefore I leave it to the judgment of God and the blessed 
martyr Julian. You then, if you are fit to do so, as you say, ap- 
proach and take a share of the Eucharist and put it in your mouth. 
For God will know your conscience." Eulalius received the Eu- 
charist and had communion and departed. He had a wife, Te- 
tradia by name, noble on her mother's side, of low rank by her 
father. And in his house he took the maidservants for concubines 


and began to neglect his wife, and when he returned from these 
harlots he would often beat her severely. Moreover because of his 
many ill-deeds he contracted a number of debts and often used his 
wife's jewels and gold for these. Finally when his wife was in 
this hard situation since she had lost all the honor she had in her 
husband's house, and he was gone to the king, Virus, this was 
the man's name her husband's nephew, fell in love with her and 
wished to marry her since he had lost his wife. Virus however was 
afraid of his uncle's enmity and sent the woman to duke Desiderius 
with the intention of marrying her later on. And she took with 
her all her husband's substance both in gold and silver and gar- 
ments and all she could take, together with her older son, but she 
left the younger son at home. Eulalius returned from his journey 
and learned what had happened. And when his grief was lessened 
and he had taken a little rest he rushed upon his nephew Virus 
and killed him in a narrow valley of Auvergne. And Desiderius 
who had lately lost his wife heard, that Virus had been killed and 
married Tetradia. But Eulalius took a girl by force from the 
convent at Lyons and married her. But his concubines impelled 
by envy, as some say, made her insane by evil arts. A long time 
after Eulalius secretly attacked and killed Emerius, cousin of this 
girl. In like manner he killed Socratius, brother of his half-sister 
whom his father had had by a concubine. He committed also 
many other crimes, too many to tell. John, his son, who had 
gone off with his mother ran away from Desiderius's house and 
went to Auvergne. And Innocent being now a candidate for the 
bishopric of Rodez, Eulalius sent a message to him that he could 
recover by Innocent's aid the property that was rightfully his in 
the territory of this city. Innocent replied: "If I receive one of 
your sons to make a cleric of and to keep to help me, I will do 
what you ask." Eulalius sent the boy named John and received 
his property back. And Innocent received the boy and shaved 
the hair of his head and put him in the care of the archdeacon of 
his church. And he became so abstemious that he ate barley in- 
stead of wheat, drank water instead of wine, used an ass instead 
of a horse, and wore the meanest garments. And so the bishops 
and leading men met, as we have said, at the confines of the cities 
mentioned, and Tetradia was represented by Agyn and Eulalius 


appeared to speak against her. When Eulalius asked for the 
things she had taken from his home when she went to Desiderius, 
Tetradia was ordered to repay what she took fourfold, and the 
children that she had by Desiderius were declared illegitimate; 
they also directed that if she paid Eulalius what she was ordered 
to pay him, she would have the liberty of going to Auvergne and 
of enjoying without disturbance the property which had come to 
her from her father. This was done. 

[9. Gunthram sends an expedition against the Bretons which 
proves a failure.] 

10. In the fifteenth year of king Childebert which is the twenty- 
ninth of Gunthram, while king Gunthram was hunting in the 
Vosges forest he found traces of the killing of a buffalo. And when 
he harshly demanded of the keeper of the forest who had dared 
to do this in the king's forest, the keeper named Chundo the king's 
chamberlain. Upon this he ordered Chundo to be arrested and 
taken to Chalon loaded with chains. And when the two were 
confronted with each other in the king's presence and Chundo 
said that he had never presumed to do what he was charged with, 
the king ordered a trial by battle. Then the chamberlain offered 
his nephew to engage in the fight in his place and both appeared 
on the field ; the youth hurled his lance at the keeper of the forest 
and pierced his foot; and he presently fell on his back. The 
youth then drew the sword which hung from his belt but while 
he sought to cut his fallen adversary's throat he himself received 
a dagger thrust in the belly. Both fell dead. Seeing this Chundo 
started to run to Saint Marcellus's church. But the king shouted 
to seize him before he touched the sacred threshold and he was 
caught and tied to a stake and stoned. After this the king was 
very penitent at having shown himself so headlong in anger as to 
kill hastily for a trifling guilt a man who was faithful and useful to 

[u. King Clothar is dangerously ill. 12. Ingytrude, abbess of 
a convent attached to St. Martin's church, dies, directing that her 
disobedient daughter should not even be allowed to pray at her 
tomb. 13. One of Gregory's priests is "infected with the malig- 
nant poison of the Sadducean heresy." 1 He is overcome in argu- 

1 Denying the resurrection of the body. 


ment by Gregory. 14. Story of the drunken priest Theodulf who 
falls off the wall of Angers and is killed.] 15. The scandal which 
by the help of the devil had arisen in the monastery at Poitiers 
was growing worse every day and Chrodield * was sitting all pre- 
pared for strife, having gathered to herself, as I have said above, 
murderers, sorcerers, adulterers, run-away slaves and men guilty 
of all other crimes. And so she gave orders to them to break into 
the monastery at night and drag the abbess from it. But the latter 
heard the uproar coming and asked to be carried to the chest con- 
taining the relics of the holy cross 2 for she was painfully troubled 
with gout thinking that she would be kept safe by their aid. 
Accordingly 3 when the men had entered and lit the candles and 
were hurrying with weapons ready here and there through the 
monastery looking for her, they went into the oratory and found 
her lying on the ground before the chest of the holy cross. There- 
upon one who was fiercer than the rest, having come on purpose to 
commit this crime, namely, to cleave the abbess in two with the 
sword, was given a knife stab by another, the divine providence 
aiding in this, I suppose. The blood gushed out and he fell to the 
ground without fulfilling the vow he had foolishly made. Meantime 
Justina, 4 the prioress, and the other sisters had taken the cloth of 
the altar which was before the Lord's cross and covered the abbess 
with it, putting the lights out at the same time. But the men 
came with drawn swords and spears and tore the nuns' clothes 
and almost crushed their hands and seized the prioress instead of 
the abbess, since it was dark, and pulled her robes off and tore her 
hair down and dragged her out and carried her off to place her 
under guard at St. Hilary's Church ; but, as the dawn was coming 
on, they perceived when near the church that it was not the abbess, 
and presently they told the woman to return to the monastery. 
They returned, too, and seized the abbess and dragged her away 
and confined her near St. Hilary's Church in a place where Basina 5 
lodged, setting guards at the door so that no one should give aid 
to the captive. At the next twilight they entered the monastery 

1 Daughter of king Charibert. She had seceded from the monastery with a large 
following of nuns and was at this time at St. Hilary's church in Poitiers. 

2 The monastery was called the monastery of the Holy Cross. 

3 Cf. Bonnet, p. 306. 4 Gregory's niece. 
5 One of Chrodield's faction, daughter of king Chilperic. 


and when they found no candles to light they took a cask from the 
storehouse which had been pitched and left to dry and set fire to 
it, and there was a great light while it burned, and they made 
plunder of all the furniture of the monastery, leaving only what 
they were unable to carry off. This happened seven days before 
Easter. And as the bishop was distressed at all this and could 
not calm this strife of the devil, he sent to Chrodield, saying: 
"Let the abbess go, so that she shall not be kept in prison during 
these days ; otherwise I will not celebrate the Lord's Easter festival 
nor shall any catechumen receive baptism in this city unless you 
order the abbess to be set free from the confinement in which she 
is held. And if you refuse to let her go, I will call the citizens 
together and rescue her." When he said this, Chrodield appointed 
assassins, saying : "If any one tries to carry her off by violence, give 
her a thrust with the sword at once." Now Flavian came in those 
days ; he had lately been appointed domesticus, and by his aid the 
abbess entered St. Hilary's Church and was free. Meantime mur- 
ders were being committed at the holy Radegunda's l tomb, and 
certain persons were hacked to death in a disturbance before the 
very chest that contained the relics of the holy cross. And since 
this madness increased daily because of Chrodield's pride, and 
continual murders and other deeds of violence, such as I have 
mentioned above, were being done by her faction, and she had 
become so swollen up with boastfulness that she looked down with 
lofty contempt upon her own cousin Basina, the latter began to 
repent and say : "I have done wrong in supporting haughty Chro- 
dield. Behold I am an object of contempt to her and am made 
to appear a rebel against my abbess." She changed her course 
and humbled herself before the abbess and asked for peace with 
her; and they were equally of one thought and purpose. Then 
when the outrages broke out again, the men who were with the 
abbess, while resisting an attack which Chrodield's followers 2 had 
made, wounded one of Basina's men who fell dead. But the abbess' 
men took refuge behind the abbess in the church of the confessor, 
and on this account Basina left the abbess and departed. But 
the men fled a second time, and the abbess and Basina entered 

1 Daughter of Berthar, a Thuringian king, and the wife of Clothar I. 
* Chrodieldis scola. 


again into friendly relations as before. Afterward many feuds 
arose between these factions ; * and who could ever set forth in 
words such wounds, such killings, and such wrong-doings, where 
scarcely a day passed without a murder, or an hour without a 
quarrel, or a moment without tears. King Childebert heard of 
this, and sent an embassy to king Gunthram to propose that bishops 
of both kingdoms should meet and punish these actions in accord- 
ance with the canons. And king Childebert ordered my humble 
self 2 to sit on this case, together with Eberegisel of Cologne and 
Maroveus himself, bishop of Poitiers; and king Gunthram sent 
Gundigisil of Bordeaux with his provincials, since he was the metro- 
politan of this city. But I began to object, saying: "I will not 
go to this place unless the rebellion which has arisen because of 
Chrodield, is forcibly put down by the judge." 3 For this reason 
a command was sent to Macco, who was then count, in which he 
was ordered to put the rebellion down by force if they should resist. 
Chrodield heard of this and ordered her assassins to stand armed 
before the door of the oratory, thinking they would fight against 
the judge, and if he wished to use force, they would resist with 
equal force. So it was necessary for this count to go there with 
armed men and to beat some with clubs and pierce others with 
spears, and when they resisted fiercely he had to attack and over- 
whelm them with the sword. When Chrodield saw this, she took 
the Lord's cross, the miraculous power of which she had before 
despised, and came out to meet them saying: "Do no violence to 
me, I beg of you, for I am a queen, daughter of one king and cousin 
of another ; don't do it, lest a time may come for me to take ven- 
geance on you." But the throng paid little heed to what she said 
but rushed, as I have said, upon those who were resisting and 
bound them and dragged them from the monastery and tied them 
to stakes and beat them fiercely and cut off the hair of some, the 
hands of others, and in a good many cases the ears and nose, and 
the rebellion was crushed and there was peace. Then the bishops 
who were present sat on the tribunal of the church, and Chrodield 
appeared and gave vent to much abuse of the abbess and many 
charges, asserting that she had a man in the monastery who wore 
woman's clothes and was treated as a woman although he had 
1 Scolas. * Mediocritatis nostra personam. 3 The count is meant. 


been very clearly shown to be a man, and that he was in constant 
attendance on the abbess herself, and she pointed her finger at him 
and said: "There he is himself." And when this man had taken 
the stand before all in woman's clothes, as I have stated, he said 
that he was impotent and therefore had put these clothes on ; but 
he did not know the abbess except by name and he asserted that 
he had never seen her or spoken with her, as he lived more than 
forty miles from the city of Poitiers. Then as she had not proved 
the abbess guilty of this crime, she added: "What holiness is 
there in this abbess who makes men eunuchs and orders them to 
live with her as if she were an empress." The abbess, being ques- 
tioned, replied that she knew nothing of this matter. Meantime 
when Chrodield had given the name of the man who was a eunuch, 
Reoval, the chief physician, appeared and said : "This man when 
he was a child was diseased in the thigh and was so ill that his life 
was despaired of ; his mother went to the holy Radegunda to re- 
quest that he should have some attention. But she called me and 
bade me give what assistance I could. Then I castrated him in 
the way I had once seen physicians do in Constantinople, and re- 
stored the boy in good health to his sorrowing mother ; I am sure 
the abbess knows nothing of this matter." Now when Chrodield 
had failed to prove the abbess guilty on this charge also, she began 
fiercely to make others. But I have decided that it is better to 
insert the charges and the rebuttals of each in my narrative just 
as they are contained in the decision which was given as regards 
these same persons. 

16. Copy of the Decision. To the most glorious kings the bishops 
who are present 1 [send greetings] . By God's favor religion properly 
discloses her causes to the pious and orthodox kings who are given 
to the people and to whom the country is granted, knowing well 
that through the mediation of the holy spirit she is made a partner 
in the decree of the rulers and is supported by it. And whereas 
in accordance with the command of your majesties we are assem- 
bled at Poitiers on account of the situation in the monastery of 
Radegunda of holy memory, in order to take cognizance at first 
hand of the disputes between the abbess of the said monastery 
and the nuns who left the flock for no sound reason ; we summoned 

1 Reading Adfuerunt for adferunt. 


the parties and interrogated Chrodield and Basina as to why they 
had so boldly departed contrary to the rule, breaking the doors of 
the monastery, and why the united congregation had at this time 
been broken in two. In answer they asserted that they could not 
endure any longer the risk of starvation, nakedness, and above all 
of beating; and they added also that several men had bathed in 
their bath contrary to decency, and that the abbess played games, 
and that worldly persons dined with her, and that a betrothal had 
actually taken place in the monastery; that she had impiously 
made a dress for her niece out of a silk altar cloth, and that she had 
frivolously taken the golden leaves which were on the border of 
the altar cloth and sinfully hung them about her niece's neck; 
and she had made a fillet with gold ornaments for her niece with- 
out any need for it, and that she had a masquerade 1 in the monas- 
tery. We asked the abbess what she had to answer to this, and 
she said that as to the complaint about starvation, they had never 
endured too great privation considering the poverty of the time. 
And as to clothes, she said that if one were to examine their boxes, 
[he would find] they had more than was necessary. And as to the 
charge about the bath, she related that the bath had been built 
in the time of Lent and that on account of the disagreeable smell 
of the limestone, in order that the newness of the building might 
not do harm to the bathers, lady Radegunda had given orders for 
the servants of the monastery to use it as a common thing until 
all harmful odor had disappeared. It had been in common use 
by the servants through Lent and until Pentecost. To this Chro- 
dield answered : "And later on in the same way many men bathed 
at different times." The abbess replied that she did not approve 
of what they reported but she did not know whether it was true ; 
moreover she found fault with them for not informing the abbess 
if they had seen it. As to the games she played, she answered that 
she had played when lady Radegunda was alive and it was not 
regarded as a sin, and she said that neither in the rule nor the 
canons was there any reference in writing to their prohibition. 
However at the order of the bishops she promised that she would 
bow her head and do whatever penance should be demanded. 
As to the dinners, she said she had introduced no new custom but 

1 Barbaturias. Cf. Du Cange, barbatoria. 


had merely offered the blest bread to orthodox Christians as had 
been done under lady Radegunda, and it could not be proved 
against her that she had ever dined with them. As to the be- 
trothal, she said that she had received the earnest money * in 
behalf of her niece, an orphan girl, in the presence of the bishop, 
the clergy and the leading men, and if this was a sin, she would 
ask for pardon in the presence of all ; however not even on that 
occasion had she made a feast in the monastery. In answer to 
the charge about the altar cloth, she brought forward a nun of 
noble family who had given her as a gift a silk robe she had re- 
ceived from her relatives, and she had cut off a part of this to do 
what she wished with it, and from the rest, which was sufficient, 
she had made a suitable cloth to adorn the altar, and she used the 
scraps left over from the altar cloth to trim her niece's tunic with 
purple ; and she said she gave this to her niece when she was serv- 
ing in the monastery. All this was confirmed by Didimia who had 
given the robe. As to the leaves of gold and the fillet adorned 
with gold, she offered Macco your servant, who is here, as a wit- 
ness, since it was by his hand that she received twenty pieces of 
gold from the betrothed of the said girl her niece, from which she 
had purchased these articles openly, and the property of the 
monastery was not involved in it at all. 

Chrodield and Basina were asked whether perchance they im- 
puted adultery to the abbess, which God forbid, or whether they 
could say she had committed a murder or a sorcery or a capital 
crime for which she should be punished. They replied they had 
nothing to say to this; they only asserted that she had acted 
contrary to the rule in the matters they had mentioned. Finally 
they said that nuns whom we believed to be innocent were with 
child because of these faults, namely, that the doors were broken 
open and the wretched women were at liberty to do what they 
would for many months without discipline from their abbess. 

When we had discussed these charges in order and had found 

no wrong-doing for which to degrade the abbess, we gave her a 

fatherly admonition for the pardonable faults she had committed, 

and urged her not to incur any reproof later. Then we inquired 

into the case of the opposing party who had committed greater 

1 Arrhae, cf. p. 97. 


crimes, that is to say, who, when within the monastery, had de- 
spised the warning of their bishop not to go forth in despite of their 
bishop and had left him in the monastery under the greatest con- 
tempt and had broken the bars and doors and foolishly departed, 

involving other nuns in their sin. Moreover when the archbishop 
Gundigisil with his provincials had received notice of this case 
and come to Poitiers by order of the king and had summoned them 
to a hearing at the monastery, they disregarded his summons, and 
when the bishops went to them at the church of St. Hilary the 
Confessor where they were staying, going to them as is seemly 
for anxious pastors to do ; while they were receiving the admoni- 
tion of the bishops a disturbance arose, and they attacked the 

* bishops and their attendants with clubs, and even shed the blood 
of deacons within the church. Then when the venerable priest 
Teuthar by command of the princes came to judge this case, and 
the time for rendering the judgment had been fixed, they did not 
wait for it but attacked the monastery like rebels, setting fire to 
casks in the court-yard and breaking the doors with crow-bars and 
axes, and setting fire, and beating and wounding nuns in the very 
oratories within the walls, and plundering the monastery, and 
stripping the clothes off the abbess and tearing her hair and drag- 
ging her violently through the streets in derision and thrusting her 
into a place where, although not in fetters, she was not free. And 
when the festival of Easter came, which is always honored, the 
bishop offered a ransom for the prisoner so that she could aid in 
baptism, but his entreaty could not secure this for any considera- 
tion, Chrodield answered that she had neither known of such a 
crime nor ordered it, adding further that it was at a sign from her 
that the abbess was not killed by her people, from which we may 
be confident in inferring that they were becoming more cruel 
and they had killed a slave of their own monastery who was fleeing 
to the blessed Radegunda's tomb, and instead of improving had 
gone deeper into crime ; and later they entered the monastery and 
took possession of it; and at the order of the kings to produce 
the rebels in public they refused to obey, and rather took up arms 
against the king's command and wickedly rose with arrows and 
lances against the count and the people. Then lately when they 
appeared for a public hearing they took the holy and most sacred 


cross secretly and wrongfully, which they were later forced to 
restore to the church. 

Having taken cognizance of so many capital crimes and of a 
wickedness that was not restrained but continually increased, we 
told them that they should beg the abbess for pardon for their sin 
and restore what they had wrongfully taken. But they were un- 
willing to do this but talked rather of killing her, a design they 
admitted in public. Then we opened and read the canons, and it 
seemed most just that until they made a suitable repentance they 
should be excommunicated and the abbess should continue per- 
manently in her place. This is what we suggest should be done in* 
accordance with your command, as far as the interests of the church 
are concerned, having read the canons and having made no dis- 
tinction of persons. For the rest, as to the property of the monas- 
tery and the deeds given by the kings your kinsmen which have 
been stolen, and which they say they have but disregard our orders 
and fail to return, it belongs to your piety, your power and royal 
authority to compel them to be returned to their place, in order 
that your reward and that of the previous kings may continue for 
ever. Do not permit them to return or think of returning again 
to the place which they so impiously and sacrilegiously destroyed, 
lest worse may come. With the aid of the Lord let all be wholly 
restored and returned to God under the catholic kings ; let religion 
lose nothing; let the decision of the fathers and the canons be 
maintained and be of profit to us for worship and bring you gain. 
May Christ the Lord support and guide you, may He bestow on 
you a long reign and the blessed life. 

17. After this when the decision was made known and they 
were excommunicated and the abbess restored to the monastery, 
they went to king Childebert, adding crime to crime, naming for- 
sooth certain persons to the king who not only lived in adultery 
with the abbess but also sent messengers daily to his enemy Frede- 
gunda. On hearing this the king sent men to bring them in chains. 
But when they were examined and no wrongdoing was found, they 
were let go. 

[18. Attempt on the life of Childebert. 19. Bishop Egidius* 
is removed from office. 20. Basina and Chrodield are pardoned. 
21. Waddo's sons are punished. 22. Death of Childeric.] 


23. In this year there was such a light shed over the earth in 
the night that one would think it mid-day ; moreover balls of fire 
were frequently noticed at night speeding across the sky and light- 
ing the world. There was doubt about Easter for the reason that 
Victor wrote in his cycle that Easter came on the fifteenth day of 
the moon. But to prevent Christians from celebrating this festi- 
val at the same time of the moon as the Jews, he added : "But the 
Latins [place it] on the twenty-second of the moon." For this 
reason many in Gaul celebrated on the fifteenth of the moon but 
we celebrated on the twenty-second. We made careful inquiry 
but the springs in Spain which are filled by a divine power were 
filled at our Easter. 

There was a great earthquake on the eighteenth day before the 
Kalends 1 of the fifth month, being the fourth day [of the week], 
early in the morning when dawn was coming. The sun was eclipsed 
in the middle of the eighth month and its light was so diminished 
that it scarcely gave as much light as the horns of the moon on the 
fifth day. There were heavy rains, loud thunders in the autumn 
and the streams were very full. The bubonic plague cruelly de- 
stroyed the people of Viviers and Avignon. 
* [24. An Armenian bishop visits Tours and tells the story of 
the destruction of Antioch.] 

25. Now in the Gauls the disease I have mentioned attacked 
the province of Marseilles, and a great famine oppressed Angers, 
Nantes, and Mans. These are the beginning of .sorrows according 
to what the Lord says in the Gospel: "There shall be pestilence 
and famines and earthquakes in different places and false Christs 
and false prophets shall arise and give signs and prodigies in the 
heavens so as to put the elect astray:" as is true at the present 
time. For a certain man of Bourges, as he himself told later, 
went into the deep woods to cut logs which he needed for a certain 
work and a swarm of flies surrounded him, as a result of which he 
was considered crazy for two years; whence it may be believed 
that they were a wickedness sent by the devil. Then he passed 
through the neighboring cities and went to the province of Aries 
and there wore skins and prayed like one of the devout, and to 
make a fool of him the enemy gave him the power of divination. 

1 June 14. 


After this he rose from his place and left the province mentioned 
in order to become more expert in wickedness, and entered the 
territory of Gevaudan, conducting himself as a great man and not 
afraid to say that he was Christ. He took with him a woman 
who passed as his sister to whom he gave the name of Mary. A 
multitude of people flocked to him bringing the sick, whom he 
touched and restored to health. They who came to him brought 
him also gold and silver and garments. These he distributed 
among the poor to deceive them the more easily, and throwing 
himself on the ground and praying with the woman I have men- 
tioned and rising, he would give orders to the bystanders to worship 
him in turn. He foretold the future and announced that disease 
would come to some, to others losses and to others health. But 
all this he did by some arts and trickeries of the devil. A great 
multitude of people was led astray by him, not only the common 
folk but bishops of the church. More than three thousand people 
followed him. Meantime he began to spoil and plunder those 
whom he met on the road ; the booty, however, he gave to those 
who had nothing. He threatened with death bishops and citizens, 
because they disdained to worship him. He entered La Velay and 
went to the place called Puy and halted with all his host at the 
churches near there, marshalling his line of battle to make war on 
Aurilius who was then bishop, and sending messengers forward, 
naked men who danced and played and announced his coming. 
The bishop was amazed at this and sent strong men to ask what 
his doings meant. One of these, the leader, bent down as if to 
embrace his knees and check his passage and [the impostor] ordered 
him to be seized and spoiled. But the other at once drew his 
sword and cut him into bits and that Christ who ought rather to 
be named anti-Christ fell dead; and all who were with him dis- 
persed. Mary was tortured and revealed all his impostures and 
deceits. But the men whom he had excited to a belief in him by 
the trickery of the devil never returned to their sound senses, but 
they always said that this man was Christ in a sense and that Mary 
had a share in his divine nature. Moreover through all the Gauls 
many appeared who attracted poor women to themselves by 
trickery and influenced them to rave and declare their leaders 
holy, and they made a great show before the people. I have seen 


some of them and have rebuked them and endeavored to recall 
them from error. 
[26. A Syrian trader, Eusebius, becomes bishop of Paris.] 

27. Among the Franks of Tournai a great feud arose because 
the son of one often angrily rebuked the son of another who had 
married his sister, for leaving his wife and visiting a prostitute. 
And when reform on the part of the guilty man did not follow, 
the anger of the youth became so great that he rushed upon his 
brother-in-law and killed him and his men, and was himself killed 
by his opponents, and there was only one left from both parties 
who lacked a slayer. Upon this the kinsmen on both sides raged 
at one another, but were frequently urged by queen Fredegunda 
to give up their enmity and become friends lest their persistence 
in the quarrel might cause a greater disturbance. But when she 
failed to reconcile them with gentle words she tamed them on both 
sides with the ax. For she invited many to a feast and caused 
these three to sit on the same bench, and when the dinner had 
been prolonged until night covered the earth, the table was taken 
away according to the custom of the Franks and they sat on the 
bench in their places. Much wine had been drunk and they were 
so overcome by it that the slaves were intoxicated and were lying 
asleep in the corners of the house, each where he fell. Then by 
the woman's order three men with axes stood behind these three 
and while they were talking together the hands of the men flashed 
in a single blow, so to speak, and they were struck down and the 
banquet ended. Their names were Charivald, Leodovald, and 
Valden. When this was told to their kinsmen they began to watch 
Fredegunda closely and sent messengers to king Childebert to 
seize her and put her to death. The people of Champagne were 
angry because of this matter, but while Childebert was interposing 
delay she was saved by the help of her people and hastened to an- 
other place. 

[28. Baptism of Clothar. 29. Miracles of the abbot Aridius. 
30. The plague. 31. The bishops of Tours from the beginning 
to Gregory.] 

The nineteenth was I, unworthy Gregory, who found the church 
of Tours, in which the blessed Martin and the other bishops of the 
Lord were consecrated in the pontifical office, shattered and ruined 


by fire. I rebuilt it larger and higher, and dedicated it in the 
seventeenth year after being ordained ; and in it as I learned from 
the old priests the relics of the blessed Maurice and his companions 
had been placed by the ancients. I found the very box in the 
treasury of the church of St. Martin, and in it the relics, greatly 
decayed, which had been brought because of their miraculous power. 
And while vigils were being kept in their honor I wished to visit 
them again by the light of a torch. And I was examining them 
intently when the keeper of the church said to me: "Here is a 
stone with a cover, but I don't know what it has in it and I haven't 
been able to learn from my predecessors who have had charge 
here. Let me bring it and you look carefully to see what it con- 
tains." I took it and opened it of course, and found a silver 
box containing relics of the witnesses of the blessed legion as well 
as of many saints both martyrs and confessors. We also found 
other stones hollow like this one, containing relics of the holy 
apostles and the rest of the martyrs. I wondered at this bounty 
divinely given and after giving thanks, keeping vigil, and saying 
mass, I placed them in the cathedral. I placed the relics of the holy 
martyrs Cosmas and Damian in St. Martin's cell close to the 
cathedral. I found the walls of the holy church consumed by fire 
and ordered skilful workmen to repaint and adorn them with their 
former splendor. I had a baptistery built close by the church, 
where I placed the relics of the holy martyrs John and Sergius, and 
in what had been the baptistery I placed the relics of the martyr 
Benignus. And in many localities in the territory of Tours I dedi- 
cated churches and oratories and glorified them with relics of the 
saints, but I think it tiresome to speak of them in order. 

I wrote ten books of Histories, seven of Miracles, one on the 
Lives of the Fathers ; a commentary in one book on Psalms ; one 
book also on the Services of the Church. And though I have 
written these books in a style somewhat rude, I nevertheless con- 
jure you all, God's bishops who are destined to rule the lowly 
church of Tours after me, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ 
and the judgment day, feared by the guilty, if you will not be 
condemned with the devil and depart in confusion from the judg- 
ment, never cause these books to be destroyed or rewritten, selecting 
some passages and omitting others, but let them all continue in 


your time complete and undiminished as they were left by us. 
And bishop of God, whoever you may be, if our Martianus has 
trained you in the seven disciplines, that is, if he has taught you 
by means of grammar to read, by dialectic to apprehend the 
arguments in disputes, by rhetoric to recognize the different 
meters, by geometry to comprehend the measurement of the earth 
and of lines, by astrology to contemplate the paths of the heavenly 
bodies, by arithmetic to understand the parts of numbers, by har- 
mony to fit the modulated voice to the sweet accents of the verse ; 
if in all this you are practiced so that my style will seem rude, even 
so I beg of you do not efface what I have written. But if anything 
in these books pleases you I do not forbid your writing it in verse 
provided my work is left safe. 

I am finishing this work in the twenty-first year after my ordina- 

Although in what I have just written of the bishops of Tours I 
have told their years, still this calculation does not agree with the 
[total] number of years, because I have not been able to learn 
accurately the length of time between the different ordinations. 
Now the grand total of years of the world is as follows : 

From the beginning to the flood 2242 years 

From the flood to the crossing of the Red Sea by the 

children of Israel 1404 years 

From the crossing of this sea to the resurrection of the 

Lord 1538 years 

From the resurrection of the Lord to the death of St. 

Martin , . . . 412 years 

From the death of St. Martin to the year mentioned 
above, namely, the twenty-first year after my ordi- 
nation, which is also the fifth of Gregory, pope of 
Rome, the thirty-first of king Gunthram, and the 
nineteenth of Childebert the second 197 years 

The grand total of which is . 5792 years 



(Preface, Book in Honor of the Martyrs) 

THE priest Jerome, next to the apostle Paul the best teacher of 
the church, tells us that he was brought before the judgment-seat 
of the eternal Judge and subjected to torture and severely punished 
because he was in the habit of reading Cicero's clevernesses and 
Vergil's lies, and that he said in the presence of the holy angels 
and the very Ruler of all that he would never thereafter read these, 
but would occupy himself in future only with such [writings] as 
would be judged worthy of God and suited to the edification of the 
church. Moreover the apostle Paul says: "Let us follow after 
things which make for peace and things whereby we may edify 
one another." And elsewhere : " Let no corrupt speech proceed out 
of your mouth ; but such as is good for edifying, that it may give 
grace to them that hear." Therefore we too ought to follow after, 
to write, and to speak the things that edify the church of God, and 
by holy instruction bring weak minds to a knowledge of the per- 
fect faith. And we ought not to relate lying tales nor to pursue 
the wisdom of philosophers that is hateful to God, lest by God's 
judgment we fall under sentence of eternal death. 2 . . . 


(Ibid., ch. 15) 

In the territory of this city [Tours] at Lingeais, a woman who 
lived there moistened flour on the Lord's day and shaped a loaf, 
and drawing the coals aside she covered it over with hot ashes to 

1 The following brief selections serve to illustrate Gregory's personality and point 
of view. 

2 Gregory then goes on to show that the miracles of the saints replace for him the 
wonders and feats of antique mythology. 



bake. When she did this her right hand was miraculously set on 
fire and began to burn. She screamed and wept and hastened to 
the village church in which relics of the blessed John are kept. 
And she prayed and made a vow that on this day sacred to the 
divine name she would do no work, but only pray. The next 
night she made a candle as tall as herself. Then she spent the 
whole night in prayer, holding the candle in her hand all the time, 
and the flame went out and she returned home safe and sound. 


(Ibid., ch. 83) 

I shall now describe what was brought to pass through the 
relics which my father carried with him in former times. When 
Theodobert l gave orders that sons of men in Auvergne should be 
taken as hostages, my father, at that time lately married, wished 
to be protected by relics of the saints, and he asked a certain bishop 
kindly to give him some, thinking he would be kept safe by such 
protection when absent on his distant journey. Then he enclosed 
the holy ashes in a gold case the shape of a pea-pod and placed 
them around his neck; but the man did not know the blessed 
names. He was accustomed to relate that he was saved by them 
from many dangers ; for he bore witness that by their miraculous 
power he had often escaped attacks of highwaymen and dangers 
on rivers and the furies of civil war and thrusts of the sword. And 
I shall not fail to tell what I saw of these with my own eyes. After 
my father's death my mother always wore these precious things 
on her person. Now the grain harvest had come and great grain 
stacks were gathered at the threshing places. And in those days 
when the threshing was going on, a cold spell came on, and seeing 
that Limagne 2 has no forests, being all covered with crops, the 
threshers made themselves fires of straw, since there was nothing 
else to make a fire of. Meantime all went away to eat. And 
behold, the fire gradually increased and began to spread slowly 
straw by straw. Then the piles suddenly caught, with the south 

1 Theodobert I, 534-548. 

2 One of the most fertile spots in France. Cf. Lavisse, Histoire de Frqnce, I, pp. 


wind blowing; it was a great conflagration and there began a 
shouting of men and shrieking of women and crying of children. 1 
Now this was happening on our own land. My mother, who wore 
these relics hanging on her neck, learned this, and sprang from 
the table and lifted up the holy relics against the masses of flame, 
and all the fire went out in a moment so that scarcely a spark of 
fire could be found among the burnt piles of straw and it did no 
harm to the grain which it had just caught. 

Many years later I received these relics from my mother ; and 
when we were going from Burgundy to Auvergne, a great storm 
came upon us and the sky flashed with many lightnings and roared 
with heavy crashes of thunder. Then I drew the blessed relics 
from my bosom and raised my hand against the cloud ; it imme- 
diately divided into two parts and passed on the right and left 
and did no harm to us or any one else thereafter. But being a 
young man of an ardent temperament I began to be puffed up with 
vain glory and to think silently that this had been granted not so 
much to the merits of the saints as to me personally, and I openly 
boasted to my comrades on the journey that I had merited by my 
blamelessness what God had bestowed. At once my horse suddenly 
shied beneath me and dashed me to the ground; and I was so 
severely shaken up by the fall that I could hardly get up. I per- 
ceived that this had come of vanity, and it was enough to put me 
on guard thenceforth against being moved by the spur of vain 
glory. For whenever it happened after that that I had the merit 
to behold any of the miracles of the saints, I loudly proclaimed that 
they were wrought by God's gift through faith in the saints. 


(Ibid. ch. 85) 

. . . On this matter I recall what I heard told in my youth. 
It was the day of the suffering of the great martyr Polycarp, and his 
festival was being observed at Riom, a village of Auvergne. The 
reading of the martyrdom had been finished and the other read- 
ings which the priestly canon requires, and the time came for offer- 

^'Insequitur clamor virorum strepitusque mulierum, ululatus infantum," a 
reminiscence of Vergil, Aen. I, 87, "Insequitur clamorque virum stridorque rudentum." 


ing the sacrifice. The deacon, having received the tower 1 in which 
the mystery of the Lord's body was contained, started with it to 
the door, and when he entered the church to place it on the altar, 
it slipped from his hand and floated along in the air and thus came 
to the altar, and the deacon was never able to lay hands on it; 
and I believe this happened for no other reason than that he was 
defiled in his conscience. For it was often told that he had com- 
mitted adultery. It was granted only to one priest and three 
women, of whom my mother was one, to see this ; the rest did not 
see it. I was present, I confess, at this festival at the time, but 
I had not the merit to see this miracle. 


(Ibid. ch. 103) 

Pannichius, a priest of Poitou, when sitting at dinner with some 
friends he had invited, asked for a drink. When it was served, 
a very troublesome fly kept flying about the cup and trying to 
soil it. The priest waved it off with his hand a number of times, 
but it would go off a little and then try to get back, and he per- 
ceived that it was a crafty device of the enemy. He changed the 
cup to his left hand and made a cross with his right; then he 
divided the liquor in the cup into four parts and lifted it up high 
and poured it on the ground. For it was very plain that it was a 
device of the enemy. 2 


(Book on the Miracles of St. Julian, Ch. 23, 24) 

At that time my father's brother Gallus was bishop of Auvergne, 
and I do not think I should fail to tell how he was aided in his 
youth by a miracle of the saint. Now I have often described the 
ruin king Theodoric brought upon Auvergne, when none of their 
property was left to either old or young except the bare land which 

1 The vessel used for the purpose indicated here, the " monstrance," was in the 
shape of a tower. Cf. DuCange, art. Turns. 

2 The identification of flies with demons occurs also on page 237. For a similar 
qase of disinclination to let a fly settle on a wine cup see Frazer, The Golden Bough, 8, 


the barbarians were unable to carry off. 1 In those days, then, my 
uncle of glorious memory who afterwards, as I have told, governed 
the church of Auvergne in the high office of bishop, was a ward ; 
and his property was so plundered by the soldiers that there was 
nothing at all left that was available ; , and he himself used often 
to go on foot with only one attendant to the village of Brioude. 2 
It happened once when he was trudging along on this journey, 
that he took his shoes off on account of the heat, and as he walked 
in his bare feet he stepped on a sharp thorn. This by chance had 
been cut, but was still lying on the ground and was concealed point 
upward in the green grass. It entered his foot and went clear 
through and then broke off and could not be drawn out. The 
blood ran in streams and as he could not walk he begged the blessed 
martyr's aid and after the pain had grown a little less he went on 
his way limping. But the third night the wound began to gather 
and there was great pain. Then he turned to the source from 
which he had already obtained help and threw himself down before 
the glorious tomb ; when the watch was finished he returned to 
bed and was overcome by sleep while awaiting the miraculous 
help of the martyr. On arising later he felt no pain and examining 
his foot he could not see the thorn which had entered it ; and he 
perceived it had been drawn from his foot. He looked carefully 
for it and found it in his bed and saw with wonder how it had come 
out. When bishop he used to exhibit the place, where a great 
hollow was still to be seen, and to testify that this had been a 
miracle of the blessed martyr. 

A long time after, when the festival of the blessed martyr came, 
my father with all his household made haste to attend the joyful 
celebration. As we were on the way, my older brother Peter was 
seized by a fever and became so ill that he could not move about 
or take food. We journeyed on in great grief and it was doubtful 
whether he would recover or die. In this state of distress we at 
length arrived ; we entered the church and worshipped at the holy 
martyr's tomb. The sick boy cast himself down on the pavement, 

1 Cf. p. 58. This punishment of Auvergne took place in 532, 6 years before Gregory's 

2 The site of St. Julian's church. Brioude is situated about 40 miles up the valley 
of the Allier from Clermont. 


praying for a cure by the glorious martyr. Finishing his prayer 
he returned to his lodging and the fever went down a little. When 
night came we hastened to keep watch and he asked to be carried 
along, and lying before the tomb he begged the martyr's favor all 
night long. When the watch was over he asked them to gather 
dust from the blessed tomb and give it to him in a drink, and hang 
it about his neck. This was done, and the heat of the fever went 
down so that on the very same day he took food without suffering 
and walked about wherever his fancy took him. 


(Preface, The Four Books on the Miracles of St. Martin) 

The miracles which the Lord our God deigned to work through 
the blessed Martin, his bishop, when living in the body, He still 
deigns to confirm daily in order to strengthen the faith of believers. 
He who worked miracles through him when he was in the world, 
now honors his tomb with miracles, and He who at that time sent 
him to save the perishing heathen, [now] bestows through him 
blessings on the Christians. Therefore let no one have doubt 
about the miracles worked in former time when he sees the bounty 
of the present wonders bestowed, when he looks upon the lame 
being raised up, the blind receiving sight, demons being driven out 
and every other kind of disease being cured through his healing 
power. As for me I will establish belief in the book written about 
his life by earlier writers, by relating for posterity at God's com- 
mand his present-day miracles as far as I can recall them. This I 
would not presume to do if I had not been warned twice or thrice 
in a vision. I call all-powerful God 'to witness that I once saw in 
a dream at mid-day many who were crippled and overwhelmed by 
various diseases being cured in St. Martin's church, and I saw this 
in the presence of my mother who said to me : " Why are you so 
sluggish about writing of these things that you see?" I replied: 
"You know well enough that I am unskilled in letters, and that, 
simple and untrained as I am, I would not dare to describe such 
wonderful miracles. I wish Severus or Paulinus were alive or 

1 Gregory's confessions of inability to write in a polished style, though probably 
hypocritical, are nevertheless in accordance with fact. 


that For tuna tus at the least were here to describe them. I have 
no skill for such a task and I should be blamed if I undertook it." 
But she said: "Don't you know that now-a-days on account of 
the people's ignorance one who speaks as you can is more clearly 
understood? Therefore do not hesitate or delay, for you will be 
guilty if you pass this over in silence." So I wished to follow her 
advice and was doubly tortured with grief and fear; grief that 
miracles as great as were done under our predecessors should not 
be recorded ; fear of undertaking so noble a task, ignorant as I am. 
However, led on by the hope of divine mercy, I am going to attempt 
the task thus urged upon me. For, as I suppose, He who pro- 
duced water in the desert from a dry rock and cooled the thirsty 
people, is able to set these matters forth in my words ; and it will 
be surely proved that he has again opened the ass's mouth if he 
deigns to open my lips and make known these miracles through 
an untaught person like me. But why should I fear my ignorance 
when the Lord our God and Redeemer chose not orators, but 
fishermen, not philosophers, but countrymen, to destroy the vanity 
of worldly wisdom. I have confidence, then, thanks to your 
prayers, that even if my rude speech cannot adorn the page, the 
great bishop will give it fame by his glorious miracles. 


(Ibid., Book I, Ch. 20) 

Since I have told two or three times how miracles were per- 
formed and dangers averted by the mere invocation of the glorious 
name, I shall now describe how the blessed bishop was called upon 
and brought help to one who was falling headlong to death ! 1 
Ammonius, an officer of the holy church, arose from dinner some- 
what under the influence of wine, and, the enemy giving him a 
push, he fell headlong over a lofty cliff that bordered the road. 
There was there a drop of about two hundred feet. While he was 
whirling about as he fell headlong and was flying down without 
wings he kept crying for aid from St. Martin at every instant of 

1 Gregory's interest in this miracle is one of technique. As a rule material " touch " 
of the source of "virtue" was regarded as a necessity, but "mere invocation" was 
sometimes effective. The cure that is related is an extreme form of the latter. See 
Introd. xx, XXL 


his fall. Then he felt as if he were tossed from a saddle by some 
one and he landed among the trees that were in the valley. And 
thus coming down slowly limb by limb he reached the ground 
without danger of death. However that the plotter's undertaking 
might not seem to have been completely in vain, he suffered a 
slight injury in one foot. But he went to the glorious master's 
church and prayed and was relieved of all pain. 


(Ibid., Book I, ch. 32, 33) 

Having related the miracles performed for others, I shall tell 
what the miraculous power of this protector has done for my un- 
worthy self. In the hundred and sixtieth year after that holy 
and praiseworthy man, the blessed bishop Martin, was taken up 
to heaven, when the holy bishop Eufronius was governing the 
church of Tours in his seventh year, and in the second year of the 
glorious king Sigibert, I became ill with malignant pimples and 
fever, and being unable to eat or drink I was reduced to such a 
state that I lost all hope of the present life and thought of nothing 
but of the details of my burial. For death was constantly raging 
at me, eager to separate my soul from my body. Then when I 
was almost dead I called on the name of the blessed champior, 
Martin and made some improvement, and began slowly and pain- 
fully to prepare for my journey ; for I had made my mind up that 
I ought to visit his venerable tomb. And my desire was so great 
that I did not even wish to live if I was to be delayed in going. 1 
Although I had scarcely escaped from a dangerous fever, I began 
to be on fire again with the fever of desire. And so, although not 
yet strong, I hastened to go with my people. After two or three 
stages, on entering the forest, I fell ill of the fever again, and was 
in such a serious condition that they all said I was dying. Then 
my friends came to me and saw I was very weak, and said : "Let 
us return home and if God wishes to call you, you will die in your 
own home; and if you recover, you will make the journey you 
have vowed more easily. For it is better to return home than 
to die in the wilderness." On hearing this I wept bitterly and be- 

1 See Bonnet, p. 272, Note 3. 


wailed my ill-luck, and said: "I adjure you by all-powerful God 
and the day of judgment which all fear who have to make answer 
there, that you agree to my request. Don't give up the journey 
we have begun, and if I have merit to see the holy Martin's church, 
I shall thank God ; but if not, carry my dead body there and bury 
it, because I am determined not to return home, if I have not the 
merit to appear at his tomb." Then we all wept together and 
went on, and, guarded by the glorious master, we arrived at his 
church. . . . The third night after arriving at the holy church 
we planned to keep watch and did so. In the morning when the 
bell for matins rang, we returned to our lodging and going to bed 
we slept until nearly the second hour. Then I woke up and found 
that all weakness and pain were gone and I had recovered my 
former health, and I gladly called my usual attendant to wait on 
me. . . . And I shall not forget to say that after forty days that 
one was the first on which I took pleasure in drinking wine, since 
because of my illness I detested it until then. 

(Ibid., Book II, Ch. i) 

In the second month after my ordination, when I was at a coun- 
try place, I suffered from dysentery and high fever and began to 
be so ill that I altogether despaired of living. Everything that I 
could eat was always vomited before it had been digested and I 
loathed food, and when my stomach had no more strength as a 
result of no food the fever was the only thing that gave me strength ; 
I could in no way take anything substantial and strengthening. I 
had severe pain, too, that darted all through my stomach and 
went down into my bowels, exhausting me by its pain no less than 
the fever had done. And when I was in such a condition that no 
hope of life was left and everything was being made ready for my 
death and the physician's medicine could do nothing for one whom 
death had laid claim to, I was in despair and called the chief phy- 
sician Armentarius and said to him : "You have used every trick 
of your profession, you have tried the power of all your remedies, 
but secular means are of no avail to the perishing. There is only 
one thing left for me to do. I will show you a great remedy : 1 
let them bring dust from the holy master's tomb and make a 
1 Tyriaca ioitheriaca, (a) antidote against the bite of serpents, (6) remedy in general. 


potion for me from it. And if this does not cure me, every means 
of escape is lost." Then the deacon was sent to the tomb of the 
holy bishop just mentioned and he brought the sacred dust and 
put it in water and gave me a drink of it. When I had drunk, 
soon all pain was gone and I received health from the tomb. And 
the benefit was so immediate that although this happened in the 
third hour, I became quite well and went to dinner that very day 
at the sixth hour. 1 

(Ibid., Book III, Preface and Ch. i) 

.... Whenever headache comes on or a throbbing in the 
temples or a dulness of hearing or a dimness of sight or a pain 
attacks some other part, I am cured at once when I have touched 
the affected part on the tomb or the curtain hanging before it, 
and I wonder within myself that at the very touch the pain is 
immediately gone. 

I shall place first in this book a miracle that I experienced recently. 
We were sitting at dinner after a fast and eating, when a fish was 
served. The sign of the cross of the Lord was made over it, but 
as we ate, a bone from this very fish stuck in my throat most pain- 
fully. It caused me great distress, for the point was fastened in 
my throat and its length blocked the passage. It prevented my 
speaking and kept the saliva which comes frequently from the 
palate, from passing. On the third day, when I could get rid of 
it neither by coughing or hawking, I resorted to my usual resource. 
I went to the tomb and prostrated myself on the pavement and 
wept abundantly and groaned and begged the confessor's aid. 
Then I rose and touched the full length of my throat and all my 
head with the curtain. I was immediately cured and before leav- 
ing the holy threshold I was rid of all uneasiness. What became 
of the unlucky bone I do not know. I did not cough it up nor 
feel it go down into my stomach. One thing only I know, that I 
so quickly perceived that I was cured that I thought that some one 
had put in his hand and pulled out the bone that hurt my throat. 



(Ibid., Book III, Ch. 37) 

At this time when a certain woman remained alone at the loom 
when the others had gone, a most frightful phantom appeared as 
she sat, and laid hold of the woman and began to drag her off. 
She screamed and wept since she saw there was no one to help, 
but still tried to make a courageous resistance. After two or three 
hours the other women returned and found her lying on the ground 
half dead and unable to speak. Still she made signs with her hand, 
but they did not understand and she continued speechless. The 
phantom which had appeared to her attacked so many persons in 
that house that they left it and went elsewhere. In two or three 
months' time the woman came to the church and had the merit to 
recover her speech. And so she told with her own lips what she 
had endured. 


(Ibid., Book III, ch. 45) 

The facts that I relate ought not to seem to any one unworthy 
of belief, because the names of individuals are not mentioned in 
the account. The cause of it is this : when they are restored to 
health by the saint of God, they leave immediately, and they some- 
times go so secretly that, so to speak, they are noticed by no one. 
And when the report has spread that a miracle has been done by 
the blessed bishop, I summon those who have charge of the church 
and inquire into what has happened; but I do not always learn 
the names from them. I generally tell by name of those I have 
been able to see or examine personally. 


(Ibid., Book IV, Ch. 2) 

At one time my tongue became uncomfortably swelled up, so 
that when I wished to speak it usually made me stutter, which 
was somewhat unseemly. I went to the saint's tomb and drew 
my awkward tongue along the wooden lattice. The swelling went 
down at once and I became well. It was a serious swelling and 
filled the cavity where the palate is. Then three days later my 


lip began to have a painful beating in it. I went again to the tomb 
to get help and when I had touched my lip to the hanging curtain 
the pulsation stopped at once. And I suppose this came from an 
over abundance of blood ; still trusting to the saint's power I did 
not try to lessen the [amount of] blood and this matter caused me 
no further trouble. 


(The Lives of the Fathers, Ch. 6) 

St. Gall was a servant of God from his youth up, loving the Lord 
with his whole heart, and he loved what he knew to be beloved by 
God. His father was named Georgius and his mother Leocadia, 
a descendant of Vectius Epagatus who, as the history of Eusebius 
relates, was a martyr at Lyons. They belonged among the leading 
senators so that no family could be found in the Gauls better born 
or nobler. And although Gall's father wished to ask for a certain 
senator's daughter for him, he took a single attendant and went to 
the monastery at Cournon, six miles from Clermont, and besought 
the abbot to consent to give him the tonsure. The abbot noticed 
the good sense and fine bearing of the youth and inquired his name, 
his family and native place. He replied that he was called Gall 
and was a citizen of Auvergne, a son of the senator Georgius. 
When the abbot learned that he belonged to one of the first families, 
he said : "My son, what you wish is good, but you must first bring 
it to your father's attention and if he gives his consent, I will do 
what you ask." Then the abbot sent messengers in regard to 
this matter to his father, asking what he wished to be done with 
the youth. The father was a little disappointed, but said: "He 
is my oldest son and I therefore wished him to marry, but if the 
Lord deigns to receive him into His service, let His will rather 
than mine be done." And he added: "Consent to the child's 
request which he made by God's inspiration." 

2. The abbot on receiving this message made him a clerk. He 
was very chaste and as if already old he had no wicked desires : 
he refrained from a young man's mirth ; he had a voice wonder- 
fully sweet and melodious ; he devoted himself constantly to read- 
ing ; he took pleasure in fasting and was very abstemious. When 


the blessed bishop Quintian came to this monastery and heard 
him sing, he did not allow him to stay there any longer, but took 
him to the city and, like the heavenly father, fed him on the sweet- 
ness of the spirit. On his father's death, when his voice was im- 
proving day by day and he was a great favorite among the people, 
they reported this to king Theodoric, who at once sent for him 
and showed him such affection that he loved him more than his 
own son ; he was loved by the queen with a similar love, not only 
for his beautiful voice, but also for his chastity. At that time king 
Theodoric had taken many clerks from Auvergne whom he ordered 
to serve God in the church at Treves; but he never allowed the 
blessed Gall to be separated from him. So it came that when 
the king went to Cologne, he went with him. There was there a 
heathen temple full of various articles of worship where the neigh- 
boring barbarians used to make offerings and stuff themselves 
with food and drink until they vomited ; there also they wor- 
shipped images as god, and carved limbs in wood, each one the 
limb in which he had suffered pain. When the holy Gall heard 
of this, he hastened to the place with only one clerk when none of 
the benighted pagans was present, and set it on fire. And they 
saw the smoke of the fire rolling up to the sky and searched for 
the one who had set it, and found him and pursued him sword in 
hand. He fled and took refuge in the king's court. But when 
the king had learned from the pagans' threats what had been 
done, he pacified them with agreeable words and so calmed their 
furious rage. The blessed man would often weep in telling this 
story, and say: " Unhappy me that I did not stand my ground 
and let my life be ended in this affair." l He was deacon at the 
time. . . . 

3. Later when the blessed bishop Quintian passed from this 
world by God's command, the holy Gall was living in Clermont, 
and the people of the city assembled at the house of the priest 
Inpetratus, Gall's uncle on his mother's side, lamenting at the 
bishop's death and asking who should be appointed in his place. 
After long debate they returned each to his own house. On their 

1 Gall would in that case have been a martyr with all a martyr's advantages. He 
does not regret running away as an act of prudence, but as an injudicious act spiritually 
speaking. Cf. Marignan, Le culte des saints sous les Merovingiens (Paris, 1899), ch. i. 


departure the holy Gall called one of the clerks and said, the holy 
spirit rushing into him : " What are these people muttering about? 
Why are they running to and fro? What are they debating? 
They are wasting their time," said he. "I am going to be bishop ; 
the Lord will deign to bestow this honor on me. Now when you 
hear that I am returning from the king's presence, take my predeces- 
sor's horse with the saddle on him and come and bring him to me. 
If you refuse to obey me, take care you are not sorry for it later." 
As he said this, he was lying on his bed. The clerk was angry at 
him and abused him and struck him on the side, breaking the bed 
at the same time, and went off in a rage. On his departure the 
priest Inpetratus said to the blessed Gall: "My son, hear my 
advice: don't waste a minute, but go to the king and tell him 
what has happened here, and if the Lord inspires him to bestow 
this holy office on you, I shall give thanks to God ; otherwise you 
can at least recommend yourself to the man who is appointed." 
He went and reported to the king what had happened. . . . 

And the clerks of Clermont, with the choice of the foolish, went 
to the king with many gifts. Even then that seed of iniquity 
had begun to germinate, that bishoprics were sold by kings 
and bought by the clerks. Then they heard from the king that 
they were going to have St. Gall as bishop. He was ordained 
priest and the king gave orders to invite the citizens to a feast at 
the expense of the treasury and to make merry over the pro- 
motion of Gall the future bishop. This was done. He was in 
the habit of telling that he had given no more for the office of 
bishop than a third of a gold piece which he had given to the cook 
who prepared the feast. Then the king appointed two bishops to 
accompany him to Clermont. And the clerk, Viventius by name, 
who had struck him on the side when he was in bed, hastened to 
meet the bishop according to his command, but not without great 
shame, and he presented himself and the horse which Gall had 
ordered. When they had gone into the bath together, Gall gently 
reproached him for the pain in his side which he had incurred from 
the contemptuous violence of the clerk, and he caused him great 
shame, not in a spirit of anger, however, but only delighting in a 
pious joke. After that he was received into the city with much 
singing and was ordained bishop in his own church. 


P. 1,1. 21 f. Gregory's vague idea of a symmetrical chronological develop- 
ment of history leading up to a great termination, namely, " the approaching 
end of the world/' finds expression in a number of passages; cf. pp. 5, 6, 7, 
105, 208, 244. It is a peculiar fact that the chronological tastes of the Chris- 
tian historiographers and theologians were largely due to their interest in the 
future, which was as definitely marked out as the past by the Providence of 

P. 6, 1. i f. Here as well as in his " first preface " (p. i) Gregory gives his 
point of view as definitely as any historian has ever done. The reader has 
merely to bear it in mind in order to interpret the narrative. Gregory's im- 
pulse to write the History of the Franks came not from an interest in the Frankish 
state, but from an interest in the orthodox church, of which he regarded the 
Franks as the champions. It is for this reason that he is far more definite in 
expressing his adherence to the creed than his allegiance to the Frankish kings. 
It is this attitude, too, that explains his impatience with civil war (p. 105). 
Cf. Introd., p. xxi and pp. 53, 54. 

P. 6, 1. 36 f . Gregory's references to his sources are relatively clear in Book 
I and can be traced through the succeeding chapters. The main source is 
naturally Jerome's translation of Eusebius' chronicle supplemented by Orosius' 
History Against the Pagans. He also uses Rufinus' translation and continua- 
tion of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History. On these sources see other volumes 
of the Records of Civilization. 

P. 9, 1. i. The stade was 606 ft. 9 in. in length. It took about 8f stades 
to make an English mile. 

P. 9, 1. 2. Agripennis (arapennis, arpent), properly a measure of surface. 
Here it is used of length, just as American farmers use the term, acre, as a 
measure both of surface and of length, meaning hi the latter case the side of a 
square acre about 70 yards. That this is the usage here may be proved 
by a simple arithmetical operation. 

P. 10, 1. 12 f. For other exhibitions of extreme credulity, see pp. 68, 171. 
It should be remembered that in these cases the point is that Gregory is apply- 
ing his theory of life to a concrete situation in such a way that the contrast 
between the modern attitude and that of the dark ages is brought out strongly. 
His view of the material world was not one that laid any stress upon natural 
cause and effect, but rather upon supernatural cause and natural effect. It is 
in Gregory's favor that he hears of more remarkable miracles than he sees. 


264 NOTES 

P. 11. Chapters 11-26 and 18-29 have been summarized. They contain 
nothing of importance and their inclusion in full would be solely at the expense 
of the reader's patience. 

P. 12, 1. ii. 251 A.D. 

P. 12, 1. 1 6 f. Dionysius had the advantage, not apparent until long after 
his lifetime, of being sent to Paris. His cult rose with the city and he became 
the patron saint of France, his worship centering in the abbey of St. Denis, 
founded within half a century of Gregory's death. In the ninth century St. 
Denis was boldly identified with Dionysius the Areopagite and with the mystical 
theological writings mistakenly attributed to the latter. This identification 
affected the development of French theological thinking for eight centuries. 
See Molinier, Sources de rHistoire de France, Nos. 65, 816. 

P. 14, 1. i. The reference is to the temple built in honor of Mercurius Du- 
mias (Mercury of the Dome) on Puy-de-D6me, the dominating peak among 
the mountains about Gregory's native place. He had no doubt frequently 
visited it. For the term Vasso Galatae, see Art,, V assocaletis in Alt-Celtischer 
Sprachschatz, edited by A. Hohler. 

P. 16, 1. 3. Cf. note to p. 6. 

P. 16, 1. 4. St. Martin died in 397. His fame in later ages is largely due to 
the life written about 400 by his disciple Sulpicius Severus. This work had 
a large circulation in Gaul and became a model for saints' lives. It is full of 
miracles and Gregory's Miracles of St. Martin is merely a continuation of it. 
The best edition of Severus' works is by Hahn, Vienna, 1866. 

P. 16, 1. 38. For a similar case of " taboo of the threshold," see p. 200. 
The custom of taking a corpse out by some other opening than the ordinary 
door is widely spread among primitive peoples. Cf . Encyclopedia of Religion 
and Ethics, edited by J. Hastings, Art., Death. 

P. 21, 1. 28. Cf. Notes on p. 6, 1. 36 and p. 16, 1. 4. Sulpicius Severus wrote 
also an epitome of sacred history from the creation of the world down to 400 
A.D. The best edition is La Chronique de Sulpice Severe, by A. Lavertrujon, 
Paris, 1896. 

P. 21, c. i. The source of the story of Bricius is unknown. A Brictio y 
described as a man of bad character, is mentioned by Sulpicius Severus (Dia^ 
logi, 3) and by Venantius Fortunatus. 

P. 24, 1. 4. The Vandals invaded Gaul in 406 and moved on to Spain in 409 
and across to Africa in 427 or 428. 

P. 24, 1. 7 f. The conception of war at this time was largely that the side 
with the strongest supernatural backing would win. As the supernatural 
forces on each side could be tested easily by a battle of champions, it was 
natural that this should be resorted to occasionally, at least in legend. Cf. 
Introd., p. xxiv. See also p. 230. 

P. 26, 1. i. To Gregory's mind the burning of the city of Metz was of in- 
terest mainly because it brought out this conclusion. See also 1. 37 below. 

P. 27, c. 9. The historians, Renatus Profuturus Frigeridus and Sulpicius 
Alexander, are known only by the quotations given here. The elaborate 

NOTES 265 

method of citing authorities found in this chapter does not occur anywhere 
else in the History of the Franks. 

P. 31, 1. 23. In consolaribus legimus. Nothing further is known of this 
source. If the following sentences are also drawn from it, it is plain that its 
writer speaks as one living to the north of the Loire before the conquest of 
that country by the Franks. Monod, Sources de Vhistoire merovingienne, p. 85. 

P. 33, c. 14-16. For Merovingian church architecture see Enlart, Archeo- 
logie fran$aise, vol. i, ch. 2. No trace of the churches mentioned by Gregory 

P. 36, c. 22. Sidonius Apollinaris (d. 480), the leading literary man of his 
time in Gaul, was bishop of Clermont the last ten years of his life. Gregory's, 
work on the masses written by him is lost. Although Gregory was born more 
than fifty years after Sidonius' death, he speaks in this intimate way of the 
former bishop of the place of his birth. On Sidonius see Dill, Society in t1:e 
Last Century of the Roman Empire, c. iv. Sidonius' Letters have just been 
translated by R. M. Dalton, Oxford, 1915. 

P. 36, c. 27 f. For an acute analysis of the literary and oral origins of- 
Gregory's account of Clovis, see Kurth, Les sources de Vhistoire de Clovis (Revue 
des quest, hist., 1888). 

P. 37, 1. 33. Campus Martius. The March-field, later changed to the May- 
field, campus Madius, the annual assembly of the Franks. 

P. 41, 1. 8. Sigamber, one of the Sigambri, a German tribe forming a sec- 
tion of the Frankish people. 

P. 41, 1. 1 6. From the number Gregory reports as having been baptized, pos- 
sibly an exaggeration in itself, we can see that Clovis' army was relatively small. 

P. 44, 1. 8. The LexGundobada, still in existence (Mon. Germ. Hist., Legum, 
Sect. I, Legum Nationum Germ, tomi II, pars i), is a codification of Burgun- 
dian custom. Gundobad also issued a code for his Roman subjects. The 
object of his legislation was largely to secure a better understanding between 
Romans and Burgundians. Cf. Lavisse, Histoire de France, II, p. 88 f. For 
bibliographical references see R. Schroeder, Lehrbuch der deutschen Rechts- 
geschichte (1902), p. 241. 

P. 45, 1. 4. See Introduction, pp. xviii and xxii. 

P. 46, 1. 35 f. The battle of Vouille was fought in 507. The people of- 
Auvergne, led by Apollinaris, son of Sidonius Apollinaris (p. 36), fought on the 
side of the Visigoths. 

P. 47, 1. 29. Et ab ea die tanquam consul aut Augustus est vocitatus. The 
opinion is held that it was an honorary consulship to which Clovis was ap- 
pointed. Cf. Pfister, in Cambridge Mediaeval History, vol. II, p. 115. 

P. 49, 1. 29 f. Cf. p. 50, 1. 17 f. According to the description of Clovis he 
was entirely emancipated from the clan morality which was so powerful among 
the Franks of his time. 

P. 53, 1. 36. The case of Gundobad is hardly to the point, since he enjoyed 
a long and prosperous reign and left his kingdom to his son Sigismund. See 
also note on p. 44. 

266 NOTES 

P. 64, 1. 6 f. For a map showing this division see Longnon's Atlas. Theod- 
oric had his capital at Rheims and held Auvergne, Clodomer held Tours and 
Poitiers and made Orleans his capital. Childebert had Paris, and Clothar, 
Soissons, for his capital. Note that all divided equally, Theodoric the son of a 
concubine (p. 38) with the rest. 

P. 64, 1. 22. Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths (475-526). 

P. 66, 1. 13 f. See p. 38. 

P. 66, 1. 21. Cf. p. 54. Hermenfred had " forgotten " to reward Theod- 
oric. The atrocities of the Thuringians are mentioned only here. 

P. 67, 1. 3. Ecce verbum directum habemus. Cf. p. 84, 1. 8, Verbum enim 
directum non habemus. The verbum directum was not justification to public 
opinion but to the supernatural powers. Cf. p. 45, 4 f. and Introd. pp. xxiv- 


P. 69, 1. 2. Vitry in Champagne. 

P. 60, c. 15. This story is from Gregory's family tradition. The bishop of 
Langres was Gregory's great-grandfather and Attalus was a relative. Treves 
was in Theodoric's territory (Longnon, p. 368), so that Attalus must have been 
a hostage from Childebert. However, Longnon (p. 209) gives reasons for the 
opinion that Langres also belonged to Theodoric. In that case Attalus must 
have belonged to some other city and must have gone to Gregory merely for 
protection. For a contrary opinion see Bonnell, Die Anfange des Karolingischen 
Hauses, p. 204, Note 2. 

P. 60, 1. ii. Note the use of the term barbarian (barbarus) for Frank. See 
also p. 94, c. 35. 

P. 62, 1. 8. Arndt remarks that the Meuse should certainly have been named 
in this passage rather than the Moselle. The latter, however, is the reading of 
all the Mss. 

P. 64, 1. 9. The Frankish kings were " long-haired " (reges crinltos) (p. 31). 
The alternative offered to queen Clotilda was to countenance the degradation 
of her grandchildren from royal rank or "to see them dead." 

P. 66, 1. 7. The relation of godfather to godson was regarded as of great 
importance. See e.g. p. 179, 1. 10. 

P. 66, 1. 13. Aries was probably taken by Theodobert about 534 and re- 
mained only a short time in his hands. Longnon, p. 434. 

P. 67, 1. 33. For the " fast of the Ninevites," see Jonah 3, 5. 

P. 70, c. 34. Professor J. W. Thompson (Commerce of France in the Ninth 
Century, Journal of Political Economy, November, 1915, pp. 876-7) regards this 
merchant group as probably going back to a Roman mercantile corporation. 
He is in error however in supposing that the merchants lent money to the king 
on the occasion Gregory refers to. 

P. 70, c. 36. The Franks objected to being taxed not only because they were 
originally tax-free, but because the payment of taxes degraded them by placing 
them on a level with the conquered Gallo-Romans. This explains the bitter- 
ness of the enmity to Parthenius (cf. p. 177), who may be judged from other 
references to him as a man intellectually at least much superior to the environ- 

NOTES 267 

ment he found in Theodobert's kingdom. See S. Hellman's revision of Giese- 
brecht's translation of the History of the Franks, vol. 3, p. 169. 

P. 75, c. 2. Elsewhere (p. 220) we learn that Clothar recognized the right 
not only of the clergy but of the people of Tours to go tax-free. The story 
told in this chapter would indicate that the bishop of Tours was the natural 
leader of the bishops of Clothar's kingdom. Cf. Introd., p. x. 

P. 76, 1. 30-31. The meaning is that the native rulers remained, there being 
a difference only in title. 

P. 77, c. 6. The principle that the king's consent was necessary to the choice 
of a bishop was just being established at this time. The bishops seeing in 
this case what they thought a good opportunity, wished to disregard it, but 
Cato would not consent to the scheme, believing that the king's consent was 
demanded by the canons. Gregory appears to have sympathized strongly 
with the effort of the bishops. The selection of Cautinus in the way described 
was even more irregular than the proposed consecration of Cato. 

P. 78, 1. 31. Theodovald reigned 548-555- 

P. 82, 1. 8. Cautinus was illiterate. Cf. Introd., p. xiii. 

P. 82, c. 13. Chramnus' stay at Clermont must have come soon after king 
Theodovald's death (555). At this time Gregory would be seventeen or eight- 
een years old. 

P. 82, 1. ii f. Brioude was about 40 miles from Clermont up the valley of 
the Allier. In it was St. Julian's church. 

P. 82, 1. 30. Note the use of the term rex as applied to Chramnus, who was 
merely an heir of king Clothar. So regina is applied to a king's daughter 

(p- 138, 1. 35). 

P. 83, 1. 1 6. Sallust, Catilina, c. 3. Note this apt citation. 

P. 83, 1. 23. It was the custom for the Prankish king on his accession to 
make a circuit of his kingdom and receive the allegiance of his people. Cf . pp. 

174, 220. 

P. 84, 1. 37. Primahaecestetmagnageneratio. Gregory's mother's family. 
Introd., pp. xi-xii. 

P. 85, 1. 27 f. For St. Martin's church see pp. 33-34, and for the cathedral 
church, p. 247! 

P. 86, 1. 33. " Alas ! " is a weak translation of the ejaculation, Wai 

P. 87, 1. 7. " In the kingdom of Burgundy we find the title patricius as 
that of an official who governed the part of Provence which was attached to 
Burgundy and also appears to have held the chief military command in that 
kingdom," Pfister in Cambridge Medieval History, II, p. 137. 

P. 91, 1. 10. Gaganus (Khan), not a proper name. 

P. 93, 1. 34. Cf. Gregory's own experience to illustrate this, Introd., pp. 
xi-xii, xx. 

P. 95, c. 40. This chapter, summarized because outside of the main interest 
of the narrative, has been examined as a test of Gregory's information as to 
the Eastern empire. The information is found valuable though not exact. 
A. Carriere in Annuaire de Vecole pratique des hautes Etudes, 1898. 

268 NOTES 

- P. 95, c. 41 . The Lombards entered Italy from the northeast in 568. Their 
first invasion of Gaul from Italy and the defeat of the patrician Amatus took 
place in 569. The most complete account of these events is given by Paul 
the Deacon, Historia Langobardorum, Lib. II, edition by Bethmann und Waitz 
(Mon. Germ. Hist.), 1878. 

P. 96, 1. 31. The Saxons had accompanied the Lombards in their original 
invasion of Italy. They were now proposing to return to their former homes 
by another route. 

P. 98, 1. 6. Ex hoc quasi honoratus habitus. " Being regarded in conse- 
quence of this as in a sense honoratus" Honoratus here seems to be used in a 
general meaning rather than in the technical one of a man who holds or has 
held high office. Cf. Du Cange, Art., Honor ati. 

P. 98, 1. 14- Verg. Aen. Ill, 56, 57. 

P. 98, 1. 17. Judex loci. The vicarius or subordinate of the Count. 

P. 99, 1. 29. This omen pointed to Sigibert's death. 

P. 100, 1. 20 f. The idea of conveying property by will was foreign to the 
Franks and was not received into their law, which regarded the family rather 
than the individual. On the other hand conveying property by will was a 
regular practice among the Gallo-Roman population. The church was often 
made a legatee, a practice due in part to the desire to have its interest involved 
in the carrying out of the will. Therefore in the conflicts that arose in regard 
to succession to property the interests of the church and of the state were 
naturally opposed. 

P. 105, 1. 35. Orosius, V, 8. 

P. 106, 1. 13. After Clothar's death in 561 Charibert I became master of 
Tours. When he died in 567 Tours was allotted to Sigibert, who had how- 
ever to drive Clovis, son of Chilperic, away before he took possession. In 573 
Chilperic again took possession but was obliged to retire. Sigibert then held 
the city until his death in 575, after which Chilperic took it and held it to 584, 
when it passed into the hands of Gunthram and after three years, by the treaty 
of Andelot, into those of Childebert II. 

P. 106, 1. 15. Merovech's mother was Audovera (p. 90). 

P. 108, 1. 9. Theodobert, son of Chilperic and Audovera. Gregory tells 
us nothing of the manner of his death. Cf. pp. 90, 114-118. 
. P. 108, 1. 21. The nails were probably large spikes. Iron was scarce and 
the people of Mans could make use of it in many ways, especially for making 
knives. It may be remembered in this connection how the barbarians tore 
out the clamps which the Roman masons used to hold the stones together, as 
in the case of the Porta Nigra at Treves. 

P. 108, 1. 31. St. Martin's church was " 550 paces " from the city of Tours 
(p. 36). Each of these " paces " is 4 ft. 10.248 in. and the whole distance 
slightly over half a mile. 

P. 108, 1. 25. Regio morbo, jaundice. 

P. 109, 1. 3 f. Felix was bishop of Nantes from 549 to 583. He was the 
builder of a large church and undertook embankment improvements on the 

NOTES 269 

Loire in Nantes. His relations with Gregory appear to have been usually bad. 
Cf. pp. 76, 154-5. For poems addressed to Felix by Fortunatus see Carmina, 
III, 4-10; V, 7 (edition by Leo in Mon. Germ. Hist.). 

P. 109, 1. ii. Tetricus died in 572. It was in 573 that Gregory became 
bishop of Tours. 

P. 109, 1. 21. Creditor, business agent. 

P. 109, 1. 21. It is of interest that Gregory's own brother was accused of 
the practice of " evil arts " (maleficiis). Cf. Introd., p. xix. 

P. 110, 1. 6. Probably Alais. This bishopric probably became part of that 
of Nimes. Longnon, pp. 538-543- 

P. Ill, 1. 38. Libri IV de Virtutibus S. Martini. See Introd., pp. xvi and 
pp. 254-260. 

P. 112, 1. 32 f. This tale indicates one kind of limitation under which the 
profession of medicine labored at this time. Another is revealed in the tales 
of healing undertaken in connection with " evil arts " (pp. 205-8, 236-8). 
In the light of these passages the fate of the physician Marileif (pp. 115, 181-2) 
is the natural one. See also p. 131 and Introd., pp. xxii-xxiii. 

P. 113, 1. 3. A characteristic opinion. See Introd., pp. xvii-xviii. 

P.- 116, 1. 15. " On its right bank " (in dexter a eius parte). Tours was 
wholly on the left bank of the Loire. 

P. 116, 1. 22. .Cf. Introd. p. xix. 

P. 116, 1. 28. Note the terms of the prophecy and the statement that it 
was fulfilled. Chilperic was, however, succeeded by his son Clothar, who out- 
lived Gregory. The doubts expressed as to Clothar's legitimacy may have 
been inspired by this prophecy. See S. Hellman, in Hist. Zeit. vol. 107, p. 27 f. 

P. 117, 1. i f. For another glimpse of Prankish hunting see p. 235. 

P. 118, 1. 18. This is the earliest occurrence of the word Austrasii. Long- 
non, p. 193- 

P. 119, 1. 4. A more or less general custom among the early Germans, 
described by Tacitus, Germania, 31. 

P. 119, c. 15. Chilperic's enmity to Praetextatus, bishop of Rouen, arose 
from the latter's favor for Merovech, Chilperic's rebellious son. It was at 
Rouen that Merovech married Brunhilda. The legal side of the trial is hard 
to follow, the main interest lying in Gregory's spirited resistance to Chilperic. 
How Chilperic would have described it might be another story. 

P. 120, 1. 29 f. From Sulpicius Severus' life of St. Martin. See note on 
p. 16, 1. 4. 

P. 127, 1. 4 f. The boys were to die in fulfilment of the prophecy on p. 116. 
See also p. 141. 

P. 128, 1. 2. Chilpericus . . . bannos jussit exigi. Bannus here means 
the fine for failure to obey the king's ban (order) requiring the service of all 
inhabitants. Brunner, Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte, vol. II, i, p. 34. 

P. 128, 1. ii. The term translated "acre" (arapennis) is in reality only 
five-sixteenths of an acre. This part of Chilperic's decree must refer only to 
vineyard land. 

270 NOTES 

P. 129, 1. 33 f. The reference may be to children of Gregory's niece who 
lived at Tours. Cf. p. 115. 

. 131, 1. 1 6. Gregory's comment has provoked discussion. It should be 
borne in mind that to Gregory the keeping of an oath was an essential, that 
his attitude toward practitioners of medicine was hostile, and that Gunthram 
was a favorite. 

P. 132, 1. 24. Hilarius of Poitiers and Eusebius of Vercellae (Liber in Gloria 
Confessorum, 2, 3), two champions of orthodoxy. 

P. 133, 1. 8. Sedulius (first half of the fifth century), a Christian poet who 
composed a metrical account of Biblical history. 

P. 133, 1. 12. This passage may be taken for evidence that Gregory did not 
know the Greek alphabet. 

P. 133, 1. 28. The mayor of the palace was regularly tutor (nutricius) of a 
king under age. Pfister in Cambridge Medieval History, -vol. II, p. 136. 

P. 135, 1. 8. See note on p. 106. 

P. 138, 1. ii. The church of St. Medard at Soissons. Braine is a short 
distance away. 

P. 138, 1. 35. Perhaps Riguntha, daughter of Chilperic and Fredegunda, 
sympathized with Gregory out of enmity for her mother. Cf. p. 221. 

P. 140, 1. 6. We hear of this local jealousy between Clermont and Tours 
also at p. 137 ; another more serious inter-city feud is described on p. 172. 

P. 148, 1. 4. The recluse Hospicius had had himself immured in a tower. 
He had a window in it, but the only way to gain access to him was to take off 
the roof. For other recluses see pp. 151, 158, 199. 

P. 160, 1. ii f. The interpretation of this passage is that the worms were 
demons or sent by demons to plague the holy man. 

P. 152, 1. ii. Inter senatores sophisticos ac judices philosophicos. This 
passage illustrates the difference in culture at this time between Paris and 
southern Gaul. 

P. 152, 1. 22. The earliest mention of the office. In Gregory's time the 
major domo was of domestic rather than of political importance. B runner, 
Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte (1892), vol. II, p. 104. 

P. 154, 1. 2. For another observation of a comet, see p. 92. 

P. 158, 1. 8. Gundulf is a great-uncle of Gregory on his mother's side. 
Hist. Franc. VI, 1 1. It is worth while remarking that he has a barbarian name. 
Gregory had found it convenient to discard his own name for one more closely 
associated with the episcopal office, and Gundulf on his side may have had a 
similar motive. 

P. 158, c. 27. This agreement is referred to on p. 173 also. It was made by 
Chilperic, Gunthrum, and Sigibert in dividing the kingdom of Charibert in 567. 
Longnon, pp. 348-353- 

P. 159, 1. i. In the division of Prankish territory following Clothar's death, 
the territory of Marseilles was divided between Gunthram and Sigibert. When 
Sigibert died, Gunthram took the whole. Childebert II is here claiming his 
father's share. 

NOTES 271 

P. 169, 1. 7. Gregory attributes the assassination of Sigibert to Fredegunda 
(p. 100). 

P. 169, 1. 17. Bourges belonged to Gunthram; Tours, Poitiers, Angers, 
Nantes, to Chilperic. 

P. 162, 1. 15. The Mummolus mentioned here is a different person from 
Mummolus the patrician. See Index. 

P. 162, 1. 26. Gregory's attitude toward the story in general is not skeptical ; 
but he regarded the diabolical powers as always deceitful. Cf. p. 116 : " What 
the devil promises is not to be believed." 

P. 163, 1. 29. To take Riguntha as bride of the king of Spain. 

P. 164, 1. 29. This should be regarded as a tax rather than as a free-will 
offering. Brunner, Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte, vol. II, p. 70. 

P. 166, 1. 3. See note on p. 133. 

P. 169, 1. 30. Nimia excesus abstinentia. The translation of these words 
is difficult. Excesus may be taken as excisus (ex, caedere}. Caedere is fre- 
quently used in Gregory's writings in the sense of flog. The compound how- 
ever does not appear to be found elsewhere in Gregory, and Bonnet, p. 422, note 
i, suggests for excesus, exesus (devoured, consumed), which however does not 
give a plausible meaning. 

P. 170, 1. i. Eoglogias (eulogiae). Blessed or consecrated bread, not the 
eucharist. Bingham, Christian Antiquities, vol. V, 186 f. 

P. 171, 1. 32. Sallust, Catilina, c. 3. 

P. 173, 1. 12 f. See pp. 119, 145. 

P. 175, 1. 13. Duke Desiderius had been in the service of Chilperic; he 
now joined the pretender Gundovald. 

P. 176, 1. 30. The occasion is described on pp. 158-160. 

P. 175, c. 14. This chapter furnishes a good example of the way in which 
their " sacred character " protected legates. The outward symbol of this 
" character " was a " consecrated wand." Hist. Franc. VII, 32. 

P. 176, 1. ii. Du Cange defines Ballomer a&falsus dominus, pseudo-princeps. 
It is regarded as a word of Frankish origin with termination in -mer , like Clodo- 

P. 177, 1. 9 f. The meaning of this probably is that Leonard was stripped 
of the insignia of office which he had retained. Brunner, Deutsche Rechts- 
geschichte, vol. II, p. 81, Note. 

P. 178, 1. 1 8. Gunthram appears here more as the avenger of his kinsman 
according to the old custom than as king with a new order of justice at his 
hand. Cf. Brunner, vol. I, p. 325 (edition of 1906). 

P. 178, 1. 35. The reference is probably to the estates granted (commen- 
datum) to him by the king. 

P. 181, 1. 9. The vicar (also tribunus, judex loci} was an officer subordinate 
to the count. Injuriosus had been obliged to borrow money, having either 
failed to collect the taxes in full or spent the money otherwise. 

P. 182, c. 29. The interest of this chapter lies in the vivid manner in which 
the fear of St. Martin is depicted as a present reality to the people of the time. 

272 , NOTES 

A Frank named Claudius was commissioned by king Gunthram to destroy 
Eberulf, a political refugee, without violating St. Martin's sanctuary. " As 
he travelled along [to Tours] Claudius, according to the custom of the bar- 
barians, began to watch the signs and say they were unfavorable to him, and 
at the same time to ask many persons if the power of the blessed Martin was 
shown at the present time on those who broke faith; he particularly wanted 
to know whether St. Martin's vengeance followed immediately in case any one 
attacked persons who put their faith in him." On arriving at Tours Claudius 
ingratiated himself with Eberulf and promised him help, and when the latter 
" saw that Claudius made such promises on oath in the very church and at 
its entrance and in every part of the court-yard [atrium], the ill-fated man 
believed the perjurer." The next day a feast was held in the church and 
Claudius secured Eberulf's confidence to such a degree that the latter relaxed 
his guard. " He sent his men one after, another to get strong wine, Italian 
wine, of course, and Syrian wine." This took place in the courtyard of the 
church. Claudius was now in a dilemma. " He was purposing to kill Eberulf 
in the courtyard, but he was afraid of the power of the holy bishop." How- 
ever, the chance was too good to be lost. Eberulf was slain by Claudius and 
his men, but Eberulf's followers immediately appeared and there was a fierce 
battle in and about the monastery in the courtyard. " The poor, both those 
who received the regular doles, and others " took part. " Those who were 
' possessed ' and the beggars hurried from here and there with stones and clubs 
to avenge the insult done to the church." Claudius and his men were all 
slain. Thus " the vengeance of God had immediately overtaken the men who 
had polluted the holy courtyard with human blood. Moreover, Eberulf's 
wickedness is perceived to be not slight when the blessed bishop (Martin) 
allowed him to meet such a fate. ' ' The whole incident was regarded by Gregory, 
who was absent at the time " at a country place about thirty miles from the 
city," as a vindication of St. Martin. 

P. 184, 1. 21. For an account of the arms and armor of the period see L. 
Beck, Geschichte des Eisens, vol. I, pp. 703-728 (1884). 

P. 186, c. 47. This feud, the sequel of which is given in Book IX, c. 19, 
is of some interest in the study of the criminal law of the period, but is told 
by Gregory in a somewhat tangled way, so that it seems best to summarize 
the main points in a note. A company who were celebrating Christmas were 
invited by a priest " to go to his house, to drink." Evidently they had been 
drinking too much already, for one of them, Austrighysel, drew his sword 
and killed the priest's slave who brought the message. Thereupon the feud 
began. Another of the company, Sichar, " who was on terms of friendship 
with the priest," attacked Austrighysel at the church door, but the latter was 
forewarned and his party, killing Sichar's servants, made off with his gold and 
silver and other property, Sichar himself escaping in the confusion. The case 
came before a court of citizens (in judicio civium) which gave judgment against 
Austrighysel, who was to pay the fine for homicide and for taking property 
without warrant. But Sichar, in the true spirit of a feudist, did not wait for 

NOTES 273 

this judgment. Learning where the property was kept, he took an armed 
band, murdered all in the house where the treasure was, and even carried off 
the flocks and herds. " On hearing this," says Gregory, " we were greatly 
vexed and in conjunction with the judge we sent messengers to them to come 
to our presence and make a reasonable settlement and depart in peace, that 
the quarrel might not breed greater trouble." Gregory even offered to advance 
the church's money to pay the fine of the guilty one, if the latter had not 
money himself. But Chramsind, the representative of the family Sichar had 
murdered in the last incident, refused to accept settlement, and hearing later 
a false report that Sichar had been killed by one of his own slaves, he took up 
the feud anew, " summoned his kinsmen and friends," plundered Sichar's 
house, and killed all the slaves on his estate. The settlement of this tangled 
feud is extremely interesting, since it shows how the courts of the period were 
straining every effort to overcome the time-honored custom of the blood feud. 
" Then the two parties were summoned before the judge in the city and pleaded 
their causes, and the verdict was found by the judges that he [Chramsind] who 
had been unwilling to accept a money payment before and had burned the 
houses, should lose half of the award which [otherwise] would have been ad- 
judged to him, this was done contrary to the law if only peace could be 
restored but Sichar was to pay the other half of the fine. Then the church 
gave money to the amount of the verdict ; Sichar paid his fine and received a 
receipt for it, each party swearing to the other that at no time should one 
party go muttering things against the other. And thus the strife ended." It 
did not end, however, as the nineteenth chapter of the ninth book shows. 

P. 189, c. 1-7. For a discussion of Gregory's attitude toward Gunthram 
see S. Hellmann, Stwiien zur mittelalterlichen Geschichtschreibung, Hist. Zeit., 
vol. 107, p. 23 f. 

P. 189, 1. 6. Gunthram was frequently threatened with assassination. See 
pp. 174, 176, 178, 205. On this occasion he seems to have felt more confidence. 

P. 189, 1. 20. The Syrians were the distributors of eastern Mediterranean 
commodities in Gaul. The name seems to have been applied to a number of 
eastern peoples. In this connection it may be recalled that a Syrian, Euse- 
bius, was bishop of Paris, and another, Theodore of Tarsus, archbishop of 

P. 191, 1. i. Gunthrani had held Saintes from 567 to 576, when it was taken 
from him by Chilperic's son Clovis. 

P. 197, 1. 20. Daemonii meridian! instinctu. Cf . Interea accedentibus hariolis 
et dicentibus eum meridiani daemonii incursionem pati (De Virtut. S. Martin. 
IV, 36). A sudden seizure in the heat of the day would be diagnosed as pos- 
session by a mid-day demon. 

P. 198, 1. 22 f. See Frazer, Golden Bough, vol. 8, p. 280, for an explanation 
of this matter. An image of a noxious creature was supposed to rid a locality 
of it. 

P. 206, 1. 2. Errore nigromantici ingenii. The spelling of nigromantici 
reveals a popular etymology (niger), " the black art." Cf. Bonnet, p. 218. 

274 NOTES 

P. 207, 1. 7. The " imposter " had to conduct a service containing responses 
all by himself. 

P. 209, 1. 34. The meaning of this is that in his pain and excitement Gunth- 
ram Boso thought he had a lance in his hand instead of a sword. 

P. 210, c. 15. This assembly of the Arian bishops of Spain took place in 

P. 211, 1. 12. The reference is to the Latin version (and continuation) of 
Eusebius' history by Rufinus. Book X, c. 14. 

P. 212, 1. 2. According to the Salic law the fine which the killing of a free 
man entailed was more than doubled if the corpse was concealed. 

P. 212, 1. 21. The purpose of the letter was to certify that Chramsind was 
not an outlaw and could not be attacked with impunity by Sichar's kinsmen. 

P. 212, 1. 36. In the agreement there are two separate statements about 
Senlis, the first (p. 213, 1. 34), that " Childebert asserts his right from the 
present day to two-thirds of Senlis," the second (p. 215, 1. 6), that " it is agreed 
that Childebert shall hold Senlis in entirety, and as far as the third therein 
due to lord Gunthram is concerned, he shall be compensated by the third 
belonging to lord Childebert which is in Ressons." 

P. 215, 1. 9. Ressons-sur-le-Matz, not far from Senlis. Cf . Longnon, p. 416. 

P. 216, 1. 30. It was as the head of the Merovingian clan that Gunthram's 
consent was required. 

P. 216, 1. 32. Ingunda had married Reccared's elder brother who rebelled 
against his father and was finally executed. Ingunda died shortly after on 
her way to Constantinople. 

P. 217, 1. i. Childebert had already made two expeditions against the 
Lombards. Cf. pp. 163, 197. 

P. 218, 1. 10. The agreement was made Nov. 8, 588 at Andelot. 

P. 218, 1. 16. Gregory's idea of a good king is that he approximates to a 
bishop. Cf. Introd., p. xvii. 

P. 220, c. 30. This chapter contains the history of taxation in Tours in 
Gregory's day. The exemption enjoyed by Tours must have brought it some 
rich inhabitants. On the other hand the fact that political refugees fled to St. 
Martin's church for protection was sometimes a disadvantage. Cf. p. 117. 

P. 221, 1. 25. Genetricemque suam servitio redeberit. The translation of 
this passage is difficult. Bonnet, p. 668, note, suggests redhiberet for rede- 
berit, in which case the meaning would be that Rigunda would make Frede- 
gunda a slave again, as she had been before marrying Chilperic. 

P. 222, 1. 6. Wife of duke Launebod, who built the church of St. Saturninus 
at Toulouse. 

P. 222, 1. 8. For Waddo see pp. 165, 182-185. He had been count of 
Saintes, and it was probably from the territory of Saintes that he made this 

P. 223, 1. ii. The story of the forty nuns is told with burdensome detail. 
The sequel of the story with the review of the case by the bishops (Book X, 
Chaps. 15-17) is translated. 

NOTES 275 

P. 227, 1. 16. Pope Gregory the Great, 590-604. This chapter gives the 
only contemporary information about him not given in his own writings. 

P. 228, 1. 10. Pope Gregory had lived in Constantinople from 579 to 585. 

P. 228, 1. 23 f. It was a custom for the bishop to resist election, in appear- 
ance at least. 

P. 228, 1. 31. Carthage was so called to distinguish it from Carthage in 
Spain (Cartagena). 

P. 232, 1. 1 8. The vicarius was an officer subordinate to the count. 

P. 232, c. 7. The reference seems to be wholly to back taxes due from the 

P. 233, c. 8. This is a tale from Gregory's home town. He must have 
known personally some at least of the persons mentioned. The time of the 
incidents may be inferred from these facts: Bishop Cautinus died in 571; 
duke Desiderius died about 587, and Gregory is writing between 590 and 592. 

P. 235, 1. ii. 590 A.D. 

P. 235, c. 10. In this case the trial by combat yielded no verdict. Brunner, 
Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte, vol. II, p. 440 (edition of 1892). 

P. 244, 1. 32. The " swarm of flies " was the medium through which this 
man became " possessed." In De Virtut. S. Martin, I, c. 53, a cloud of dust 
has the same effect. Cf. also De Virtut. S. Martin, III, c. 16, 20. 

P. 246, 1. 19. Episcopis ac civibus. The meaning of the last word may be 
" people of the civitas (city)," i.e. " townsfolk." 

P. 246, 1. 3. See Note on p. 189, 1. 20. 

P. 246, 1. 23 f. A similar case of summary punishment is found on p. 199. 
Cf. also pp. 38, 48-50, 176. 

P. 246, 1. 36. The cathedral church in the city. Below (p. 247, 1. 21 f.) 
the reference is to St. Martin's church. 

P. 247, 1. 13. The reference is to a legend dating back to the time of the 
emperor Maximian (285-310) and centering about St. Maurice (cf. p. 54). 
The legion, consisting wholly of Christians from the East, was commanded to 
take part in the persecution of the Christians. On its refusal its members 
were executed to a man. The question of the authenticity of the legend has 
given rise to a long controversy. See Art., Theban Legion, New S chaff- Herzog 
Religious Encyclopedia. 

P. 247, 1. 32 f. Appeals of this sort are common in the literature of the age. 
Compare the following : " I adjure thee, who shalt transcribe this book, by our 
Lord Jesus Christ, and by his glorious appearing, when he comes to judge the 
living and the dead, that thou compare what thou has transcribed, and be care- 
ful to set it right according to this copy from which thou hast transcribed ; 
also that thou in like manner copy down this adjuration, and insert it in the 
transcript." Irenaeus, De Ogdoade (Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. I, p. 568). 

P. 248, 1. 2. Martianus Capella wrote, about 450, a work on the seven 
liberal arts much used in medieval schools. Cf . Introd., p. xiii. 




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ARNDT, W., et BR. KRUSCH, Gregorii Turonensis Opera. 1885. In Monu- 
menta Germaniae Historica. Displaces all previous editions. 

OMONT, H., et G. COLLON, Gregoire de Tours, Histoire des Francs, Texte de manu- 
scrits de Corbie et de Bruxelles. New edition by Rene Poupardin. 2 Paris, 
1913. In Collection de textes pour servir a 1'etude et 1'enseignement de 


BORDIER, H. Histoire ecclesiastique des Francs par saint Gregoire, evdque de 

Tours, Paris, 1859-61. 
GIESEBRECHT, W. Zehn Biicher frankischer Geschichte vom Bischof Gregorius 

von Tours. Berlin, 1851. New edition, in 3 vols. revised by S. Hellmahn, 

1913 (Geschichtschreiber der deutschen Vorzeit). Only the last volume 

of the new edition has been available. 
GUADET, J., et TARANNE, N. R. Histoire ecclesiastique des Francs par Georges 

Florent Gregoire, evtque de Tours. Paris, 1836. 
GUIZOT, M. Histoire des Francs par Gregoire de Tours. Paris, 1823. 


AMPERE, J. J. Histoire litteraire de la France avant Charlemagne. Paris, 1870. 

BONNET, MAX. Le Latin de Gregoire de Tours. Paris, 1890. A work indis- 
pensable to the reader of the Latin text. 

CARRIERE, A. Sur un chapitre de Gregoire de Tours relatif a Vhistoire d' Orient 
(Annuaire de 1'ecole pratique des hautes etudes), 1898. 

DECLAREUIL, 0. Les epreuves judiciaires dans le droit franc du V e au VIII* 
siecle. Paris, 1899. 

FAHLBECK, P. La Royaute et le droit royal Francs (486-614) . Traduit par J. H. 
Kramer. Lund, 1883. 

GALY, C. Lafamille a Vepoque meromngienne. Paris, 1901, 

HELLMANN, S. Studien zur mittelalterlichen Geschichtschreibung. I. Gregor von 
Tours. Hist. Zeitschrift. 1911. 

x Not exhaustive. 

2 A full list of editions and translations may be found in this edition, pp. xxiv- 
xxx. The most famous of the early editions is that by Th. Ruinart, Paris, 1699. 



HUGUEMIN, M. A. Histoire du royaume Merovingien d* Austrasie. Paris, 1862. 

JUNGHAUS, W. Histoire critique des regnes deChildebert et de Chlodovech; tra~ 
duite par G. Monod. Paris, 1879. 

KRUSCH, B. Zur Chronologic der merovingischen Konige (Forschungen zur 
deutschen Geschichte), 1882. 

KURTH, G. Clovis. Tours, 1891. 

De la nationality des comtes francs (Melanges Paul Fab re). Paris, 1903. 

Histoire poetique des Merovingiens. Paris, 1893. 

Les dues et les comtes d'Auvergne au VI e siecle (Bull, de 1'Acad. roy. de 

Belgique), 1899. 

Les dues et les comtes de Touraine au VI e siecle (Bull, de 1'Acad. roy. de 

Belgique), 1906. 

Les sources de Vhistoire de Clovis (Revue des quest, hist.), 1888. 

Sainte Clotilde. Paris, 1897. 

Saint Gregoire de Tours et les Etudes classiques au VI e siecle (Revue des 

quest, hist.), 1878. 

LESNE, E. La propriete ecclesiastique en France aux epoques romaine et mero- 
vingienne. Paris, 1910. 

LOEBELL, J. W. Gregor von Tours und seine Zeit. Leipsic, 1869. 

LONGNON, A. Geographie de la Gaule au VI e siecle. Paris, 1878. Indis- 
pensable to the reader of Gregory's works. It is largely a geographical 
commentary on the History of the Franks. 

MARIGNAN, A. Etudes sur la civilisation franqaise. Tome I. La societe 
merovingienne. Tome II. Le culte des saints sous les Merovingiens. 

MONOD, G. Les aventures de Sichaire (Revue Historique), 1886. 

Sources de Vhistoire merovingienne. Paris, 1872. 

PROU, M. Examen de quelques passages de Gregoire de Tours relatifs a I' applica- 
tion de la peine de mort (Etudes d'histoire du moyen age dediees a G. 
Monod). Paris, 1896. 

La Gaule merovingienne. Paris, 1897. 

TARDIF, J. Etudes sur les institutions politiques et administrative* de la France. 
Epoque merovingienne. Paris, 1881. 

THIERRY, AUG. Recits des temps mtrovingiens. Paris, 1840. 

URBAT, R. Beitrage zu einer Darstellung der romanischen Elemente im Latin 
der Historia Francorum des Gregor v. Tours. Konigsberg, 1890. 

VAUCELLE, E. R. La collegiale de saint Martin de Tours (397-1328). Paris, 

WEIMANN, K. Die sittliche Begriffe in Gregor wn Tours "Historia Francorum" 
Duisburg, 1900. 


JEtius, 26. 

Alamanni, Alemanni, 13, 30, 35, 39-40, 47. 

Alani, 27, 30. 

Alaric, 36, 44~47, 53- 

Albin, king of the Lombards, 76, 95. 

Amalaric, 47, 54, 58, 68. 

Anastasius, 80. 

Andarchius, 97-99. 

Andelot, 213. 

Apollinaris Sidonius, 36, 47, 80. 

Arcadius, 64. 

Aregunda, 75. 

Aregyselus, 59. 

Arians, 5, 24, 25, 41, 45, 53, 89, 131, 156, 


Aridius, 42. 

Aries, 66, 89, 91, 237, 244. 
Attalus, 60-63. 
Attila, 26. 

Audovald, Duke, 230. 
Austrasians, 118. 
Austrechild, xxii, 87, 130. 
Auvergne, ix, xi, xiii, 44, 58, 63, 67, 85, 94, 

232, 233-235, 250, 252. 
Avignon, 42, 97, 152, 157, 158, 183, 191, 

Avitus the abbot, 55, 120, 190. 

Babylonia, 8, 9. 

Basina, 33. 

Basina, daughter of Chilperic, 236-243. 

Belsuarius, 69. 

Bertram, bishop of Bordeaux, 121-124, 

134-138, 190, 193, 194. 
Berulf, Duke, 137, 159, 197. 
Bordeaux, 47, 152, 163, 206, 214. 
Bourges, 13, 35, 92, 139, 140, 159, 160, 

163, 184, 185, 211, 244. 
Bretons, 35, 76, 85, 86, 128, 211. 
Bricius, 21-23. 
Brunhilda, 89, 90, 99, 106, 115, 119, 122, 

146, 178, 192, 208, 212, 213, 214, 

215, 2l6, 220, 223. 

Buccelenus, 69, 79. 

Burgundians, 30, 31, 38, 44, 47, 55, 95-96. 

Caesarea, 6. 

Caesaria, 83. 

Cambrai, 31, 49. 

Candes, 15. 

Carthage, 228-230. 

Cato, the priest, 77-79, 84, 90, 92. 

Cautinus, bishop of Clermont, 77-84, 90, 

92, 233. 

Cellula Sancti Maxentii, 46. 
Celsus, the patrician, 87. 
Chalons [sur-Saone], 131, 133, 189, 205, 

212, 219, 235. 
Chararic, 49. 
Charibert, King, 75, 85, 87, 88, 116, 134, 

135, 213, 220. 
Charigisil, xxiii. 

Charigysel, chamberlain of Sigibert, 100. 
Chedinus, Duke, 231. 
Childebert, son of Clovis, 54, 58, 60, 63- 

67, 69, 85, 99, 152. 
Childebert IE, son of Sigibert, 106, 122, 

134, 145, 153, 158-160, 164, 173, 175, 

191, 194, 197, 205, 208-220, 221, 

238, 243. 

Childeric, 31, 33, 35, 36. 
Chilperic, King, xvi, xxv, 75, 87-166, 173, 

174, 192. 
Chlogio, 31. 
Chlotsinda, 75, 95. 

Chonoober, count of the Bretons, 85, 86. 
Chramnus, 75, 79, 82, 83, 85, 86. 
Chrocus, 13. 
Chrodield, 236-243. 
Chrodinus, 156. 
Chundo, 235. 
Chuppa, 232. 
Clermont, ix, 12, 13, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 

44, 47, 54, 66, 77-79, 82, 92, 97-98, 

113, 158, 260. 
Cloderic, 47. 

1 Not exhaustive. 




Clodomer, 39, 54, 55, 56, 63-65, 69, 120. 
Clothar, 54-58, 63-67, 69, 75, 79-88, 118, 

130, 151-152, 157, 215, 220. 

Clothar, son of Chilperic, 174, 189, 194, 

217, 235, 246. 

Clotilda, 38-41, 50, 55, 56, 63-65, 75, 80. 
Clovis, xiv, xxii, xxiv, 31, 33, 36-50, 53, 

54, 71, 76, 105. 

Clovis, son of Chilperic, 90, 139, 194. 
Cologne, 29, 48, 261. 
Cush, 8. 

Deoteria, 66-67. 

Desideratus, bishop of Verdun, 67. 

Desiderius, Duke, 114, 159, 160, 175, 

185, 197, 201, 205-206, 233. 
Dijon, 42, 44, 65, 85, 92, no. 

Ebarchius the recluse, 150-151. 

Eberulf, 178-181, 182, 197. 

Egidius, bishop of Rheims, 158-160, 175, 

210, 243. 
Enoch, 7. 
Erpo, Duke, 118. 
Eufronius, 84, 88, 139. 
Eulalius, 233-235. 
Eusebius, 6, 15, 21, 211. 
Eusebius [of Vercellae], 132. 

Farro, 49. 

Fasti Consulares, 31. 

Felix, bishop of Nantes, 76, 109, 140, 

Firmin, 82. 

Flavian, domesticus, 212, 232, 237. 
Franks, 26-32, 56, 66, 84 et passim. 
Fredegunda, 90, 100, 115, 116, 122, 130, 

131, 161-163, 173-17%, 186, 194, 197, 

201, 216, 245. 

Gaganus (Khan), 91. 

Galen, 114, 125. 

Gallus, xi, 77, 78, 82, 252-254, 260-262. 

Galsuenda, 90, 214. 

Germanus, bishop of Paris, 100, 112. 

Godomar, 55-56- 

Gogo, 133. 

Goths, 26, 31, 35, 36, 37, 44, 46, 47, 66, 

68, 89, 163-165. 
Gregory of Tours, Education, xii. 

Family, x, 109-111, 250-256, 260-262. 

L^e, ix. 

Religion, xix. 

Style, xiii, i, 5, 254. 

- Superstition, xi, 10 et passim. 
Works, xv, 119-124, 132, 134, 141, 194, 

212-218, 247, 254. 
Gregory, bishop of Langres, xi, 60, 63, 

65, 84. 

Gregory, the Great, 227. 
Grippo, legate to the emperor, 228-232. 
Gundobad, 38, 41, 42, 43, 44, 53. 
Gundovald, 157, 175, 176, 182-184, 190. 
Gunthram, King, 75, 85, 87, 89, 91, 109, 

125, 145, 153, 156, 159, 173, 174, 175, 

178, 180, 181, 182, 185, 189, 194, 

205, 208-218, 220, 221, 238. 
Gunthram Boso, 108, 114-118, 125, 127, 

I3 1 , J 57, 158, 175, 176, 183, 184, 197, 

208-210, 219. 

Hermenfred, 54, 56-58. 
Hilarius, St., 15, 46, 53, 132, 173. 
Hospicius the recluse, 147-150. 
Huns, 25, 26, 87, 90. 

Ingoberga, 87. 

Ingunda, 75, 76. 

Injuriosus, bishop of Tours, 75, 76. 

Jerome, 6, 15, 21, 249. 
Jews, 82, 113, 155, 181, 189. 
John, the Pope, 126. 
Justina, 236. 
Juvencus, 15. 

Latium, 66. 

Leo, 60-63. 

Leocadius, 13. 

Leonastus, 112. 

Leudast, 115, 134-140, 160-162. 

Leudeghisel, 182-185. 

Limoges, 128, 214. 

Loire, 17. 

Lombards, 76, 95-97, 217, 219, 220, 230. 

Lupus, Duke, 145. 

Lyons, 44, 55, 92, 94, no, 145, 218. 

Macliavus, 76, 119. 

Magnovald, 199-200. 

Mans, 1 08, 151, 244. 

Marcus the referendary, 128, 130, 158. 

Marileif, 115, 181, 182. 

Marseilles, 41, 98, 109, 114, 145, 159, 

218, 244. 

Martianus [Capella],.248. 
Martin, St., x, xii, xvi, xvii, xx, 14, 

15-17, 21, 33-34, 67, 75, 85, 86, in, 



112, 115, 120, 152, 173, 178, 189, 
IQ3, 220, 221, 254, 256. 

Maxentius, 46. 
Merovech, 31. 
Merovech, son of Chilperic, 90, 106, 114- 

118, 119, 123, 124, 125, 135, 194. 
Metz, 25, 26, 78, 210, 212, 230. 
Milan, 230. 
Mummolus the patrician, 95-97, 114, 

126, 157-158, 162-163, 172, 177, 

183-185, 191. 
Munderic, 58, 59, 60. 

Narses, 69, 79. 

Nicaea, 6. 

Nicetius, bishop of Lyons, xi, no, 125, 


Nicetius, husband of Gregory's niece, 115. 
Nile, 9. 
Noah, 8. 

Orleans, 26, 35, 55, 56, 87, 172, 178, 189. 
Orosius, 6, 8, 15, 21, 31, 105. 

Palladius, Count, 94. 

Palladius, bishop of Saintes, 190, 193- 

194, 201. 
Paris, 47, 63, 75, 85, 87, 88, 99, 119, 152, 

154, 158, 160, 163, 166, 189, 207, 208, 

213, 245. 

Parthenius, 70, 71. 
Pavia, 231. 
Pelagius, 200. 

Peter, Gregory's brother, 109-110. 
Poitiers, 45, 46, 85, 97, 106, 108, 115, 127, 

140, 158, 159, 165, 175, 181, 182, 208, 

213, 220, 223, 236-243. 
Prsetextatus, bishop of Rouen, 119-124, 

177, 197, 217. 
Priscus, a Jew, 146-147, 155. 

Quintian, 44. 

Radegunda, 57, 158, 205, 237, 239, 240, 


Ragnachar, 36, 49. 

Ragnemod, bishop of Paris, 114, 121, 158. 
Rauching, 106-108, 208. 
Red Sea, 9, 10. 
Remi, 40, 41. 

Renatus Frigeridus, 27, 30. 
Rheims, 85, 87, 124. 

Richared, king of Spain, 201, 205, 210, 216. 
Riculf, 114, 136-140. 

Riculf the sub-deacon, 136-140. 
Riguntha, 163-165, 175, 177, 185, 221, 


Roccelenus, 108. 
Romans, 35. 
Rouen, 99, 106, 160. 

Sagittarius, 96, 125-127, 128, 182-185. 

Saintes, 88, 165. 

Sallust, 83. 

Salunius, 96, 125-127, 128. 

Salvius, bishop of Alvi, 133, 140, 141, 169- 


Satuminus, 12. 

Saxons, 35, 79, 83-84, 96, 97, 118, 186. 
Sedulius, 133, 166. 
Senlis, 154, 166, 212, 213, 215. 
Severus, Sulpicius, 21. 
Siagrius, 35, 36, 49. 
Sichar, 211-212. 
Sigibert the lame 47, 48. 
Sigibert, King, 75, 87, 89, 90, 94, 97-100, 

109, 118, 173, 191, 213, 215, 220, 256. 
Sigivald, 66. 

Silvester, kinsman of Gregory, no. 
Soissons, 37, 86, 87, 100, 106, 130,154, 223. 
Stephen, St., 25. 
Suevi, 24, 1 1 8. 
Sulpicius Alexander, 27. 
Sygismund, 54-56, 120. 

Tangiers, 25. 

Tauredunum, 91. 

Tetradia, 233-235. 

Tetricus, bishop of Langres, 109-111, 192. 

Theodoald, Theodovald, 71, 77, 78, 83. 

Theodobert, King, 54, 57, 58, 60, 66, 67, 

69, 70, 71, 250. 

Theodobert, son of Chilperic, 116, 135. 
Theodomer, 31. 
Theodore, bishop of Marseilles, 153, 157, 

192, 194, 218. 
Theodoric, son of Clovis, 38, 47, 54, 55, 

56, 57, 58, 60, 66, 70, 254, 261. 
Theodoric the Great, 54, 68. 
Theodosian Law, 97. 
Thrasamund, 24. 

Thuringia, 31, 33, 38, 54, 56-57, 79- 
Tolbiac, 58. 

Toulouse, 44, 47, 177, 182. 
Tournai, 99, 100, 139, 246. 
Tours, x, 16, 22, 23, 33, 44, 45, 47, 50, 63, 

75-79, 84, 85, 86, 88, 97, 106, 108, 

115, 118, 121, 128, 134-140, 153, 



159, 160, 175, 181, 186, 199, 205, 

206, 208, 211, 213, 220, 231, 246, 268. 

Treves, 29, 31, 60, 70, 261. 
Trinity, 53, 68, 132. 

Ursus, 98. 

Vandals, 24, 25, 30. 
Vannes, 76. 
Vase of Soissons, 37. 
Vaso Galatae, 14. 
Vectius Epagatus, 13, 260. 
Verdun, 67, 70, 186. 

Victor, 7, 236, 244. 
Vienne, 29, 42, 43, 56. 
Virgil, 97, 249. 
Visigard, 66, 67. 
Vouille, 46, 50. 
Vulfilaic, xxii, 194-196. 

Waddo, major-domo, 165, 183-185, 222, 

223, 243. 
Wilichar, 85. 

Zoroaster, 8. 
Ziilpich, 47- 

Records of Civilization 



(Numbers marked with an asterisk have already appeared ; the others are in preparation.) 

TARY. By JAMES T. SHOTWELL, Ph.D., Professor of History in 
Columbia University. 

of History in Columbia University, and E. G. SIHLER, Ph.D., 
Professor of the Latin Language and Literature in New York Uni- 
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* ^n 

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DC Gregorius, Saint, bp. of 

64 Tours 

G713 History of the Franks